Alpha-2 Adrenergic Agonists May Effectively Treat ADHD in Preschoolers with Fewer Side Effects

While stimulants are typically recommended to treat ADHD in young children, a new study suggests that alpha-2 adrenergic agonist medications may also effectively reduce ADHD symptoms in preschoolers with fewer side effects than stimulant medications.

5/13/2021 11:00:00 PM

While stimulants are typically recommended to treat ADHD in young children, a new study suggests that alpha-2 adrenergic agonist medications may also effectively reduce ADHD symptoms in preschoolers with fewer side effects than stimulant medications.

While stimulants are typically recommended to treat ADHD in young children, a new study suggests that alpha-2 adrenergic agonist medications (commonly in the form of guanfacine) may also effectively reduce ADHD symptoms in preschoolers with fewer side effects than stimulant medications.

2Researchers suggest that guanfacine may be an optimal choice for preschoolers who show signs of sleep difficulty, irritability, stubbornness, and defiance, however further research is needed. Professor Mary Soltano, a member of the advisory board for CHADD, suggested that alpha-2 adrenergic agonists are “reasonable options if your child has

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side effects from stimulantsor needs something additional.”She explained that the risks of either medication class do not outweigh the risks of untreated ADHD: “Untreated ADHD can yield a lot of problems with academic performance, social interaction, self-confidence, anxiety and depression. These kids become discouraged early and have higher rates of school dropout and underperform occupationally.”

Sources1Elizabeth Harstad, MD, developmental and behavioral pediatrician, Boston Children’s Hospital; Tanya Froehlich, MD, professor, pediatrics, Sonya G. Oppenheimer Endowed Chair and Director of Research, division of developmental and behavioral pediatrics, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Mary Solanto, PhD, professor, pediatrics and psychiatry, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine, New Hyde Park, N.Y.; Journal of the American Medical Association, May 4, 2021 headtopics.com

2Mann, Denise. ADHD meds can help preschoolers, but effects vary. Read more: ADDitude »

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