Several new ADHD medications have been approved numerous times over the last 10 years. I will discuss them in reverse chronological order of approval dates.
This article was written on May 1, 2011.
Clonicel has not been approved yet but is in the process of seeking FDA approval. It is a long-acting form of clonidine. Clonidine is a non-stimulant, antihypertensive medication similar to guanfacine (Intuniv). It is not a new ADHD medication as it has been used for more than 15 years. There is a group of patients who get significant improvement in their ADHD symptoms. Short acting generic clonidine has a benefit that only lasts several hours. Therefore, it usually needs to be given 2-3 times per day. It is anticipated that Clonicel will last longer than eight hours per day and only need to be given one time each day. The most common side effects are tiredness, sleepiness, and faintness when standing up.
Intuniv currently is the newest ADHD medication. It is a non-stimulant, long-acting form of guanfacine. Intuniv was approved by the FDA in the last year for ADHD. Guanfacine has been used for more than 15 years in the short acting form. There is a group of ADHD patients who get significant benefit. Its benefit only lasts part of the day so it usually needs to be given 2-3 times per day. The most common side effects are tiredness, sleepiness, and faintness when standing up. Guanfacine tends to cause less sedation than clonidine.
Focalin Xr is a new ADHD medication that was approved by the FDA several years ago. It is the extended release form of Focalin. Focalin is the “purified” form of the psychostimulant Ritalin that has been in use for many years. Focalin Xr usually provides benefits for ADHD symptoms for more than seven hours. There is a group of patients who get more benefits and/or have fewer side effects with the Ritalin containing preparations such as Focalin XR than they do with the Adderall containing medications.
Vyvanse was approved as a new ADHD medication in 2007. It has an advanced method of slow-release of the “purified” form of Adderall. The dosage can be adjusted so that a single dose may last 12 to 16 hours, longer than all other extended release ADHD medications. The side effects that may occur are much the same as for Adderall. See Adderall side effects . In a Vyvanse versus Adderall comparison in my experience, most patients who tried short-acting or long-acting Adderall prefer Vyvanse. Vyvanse usually is more consistent in its benefits throughout the day, lasts longer than any other Adderall preparation, has the convenience of once daily dosing in the morning, and appears to have a lower risk of abuse potential.
Daytrana is a skin patch, slow-release delivery system for Ritalin. The advantages of this new ADHD medication is that the patient does not have to swallow a pill and the patch can be removed to stop the effect of the Ritalin in one or two hours. The most frequent complaint is skin irritation or an allergic skin reaction.
Strattera is the brand name for atomoxetine. It was a new ADHD medication that was approved by the FDA in 2002. The advantage is that it is not a psychostimulant. The disadvantage is that it takes usually a month or two to see how helpful it’s going to be and may take three months to get the full benefit. However, once it is working it works around the clock and if you skip it one or two days, usually the benefits for attention continue. Possible side effects include headache, abdominal pain, reduced appetite, nausea or vomiting, coughing, or irritability. 1/2,000,000 patients had severe liver injury.
Concerta was a new long-acting form of Ritalin when it was approved as a new ADHD medication in 2000. This is the most long-acting form of Ritalin. It’s duration of action is approximately 10 to 12 hours. It has a unique release mechanism so that it is fairly consistent in effect throughout the day and has become the most popular long-acting form of Ritalin.
Follow this link to the FDA site where you can read a detailed medication guide to each of these ADHD medications and even more detailed medical information usually reserved for physicians.
Call Dr. Hege today at 770-458-0007 for an appointment to discuss any of the new ADHD medications that is best for you.