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Monday 01 August 2005

[Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: pharmacological options that are not "Ritalin"]

By: Shmueli D, Gross-Tsur V.

Harefuah 2005 Aug;144(8):572-6, 597

Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is the drug of choice for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Methylphenidate has been rigorously studied and found to be a safe and effective drug. However, there is a need for pharmacological alternatives since there are patients and therapists who are reluctant to use the drug. In some cases it is ineffective, others suffer from intolerable side effects and still others need treatment extended for the entire day. Recently, new pharmacological agents have been introduced for use in Israel. This article discusses the use of these new psychostimulants as well as other non-psychostimulant options. One of the new psychostimulants is Concerta, a very long acting methylphenidate preparation, that has been shown to be very effective. Adderall, a mixture of amphetamine salts, and Dexedrine (dexamphetamine) are also widely used. This article also presents data on an older psychostimulant, Cylert, Nitan (pemoline), prescribed until recently as a major alternative for Ritalin but, at present, it is rarely used because of its hepatotoxicity. Strattera (atomoxetine), a new non-stimulant drug, is a selective noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor that is a promising therapeutic option for children with ADHD. In summary, it is encouraging that there are multiple pharmacological options for treating children with ADHD. There is no one drug for all children and this is particularly important for children with do not respond to methylphenidate. Last, but not least, the mere fact that the new drugs are not called Ritalin, may play an important role in reducing the irrational opposition to the pharmacological treatment of ADHD.

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