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Strattera May Treat ADHD in Some Young Kids

Study Shows Non-stimulant Drug Is Effective for Some Kids Aged 6 and Younger

Second Opinion continued...

According to Adesman, there may be other issues with using this medication in kids younger than 6 -- mainly pill swallowing. “Five-year-olds can't swallow pills and these pills are supposed to be taken as a whole,” he says. The powder in the capsules can irritate the eyes, and splitting Strattera pills is not advisable.

That’s not to say there isn’t a role for Strattera in children, he says. For example, children who did not respond to stimulants and those who may be unable to take them due to medical problems or substance abuse in the home may benefit, he says. “There are times to think about non-stimulants, but for most kids with ADHD, clinicians should start with stimulants.”

Jon Shaw, MD, a professor of psychiatry of the University of Miami School of Medicine, agrees. “Strattera is better for children with ADHD plus anxiety symptoms and for adolescents who have problems with substance abuse or addiction because they are not as potentially addictive as stimulants.”

There are some downsides, he says. Strattera takes several weeks to work whereas stimulants kick in right way.

“You also can’t take a drug holiday with Strattera because you need certain blood levels of the medication for it to be effective,” he says. Some people stop taking stimulants for a weekend or several days to minimize the side effects such as appetite suppression and weight loss.

“We need to be judicious before jumping to use any medications to treat ADHD and try behavioral approaches first,” Shaw says.

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