Diet, medicine changes for ADHD

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Parents of children who show symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) despite being on a medication have new alternatives to consider.

In February, Food and Drug Administration extended its approval of guanfacine (marketed as Intuniv by Shire), saying the once-daily tablet for ADHD patients ages 6 to 17 could be used along with other stimulant medicines that don’t treat ADHD symptoms as effectively.

Dr. Robert Findling, who is the director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, was a lead investigator for the study that researched guanfacine’s use with other ADHD medications. He says children who used guanfacine and another medicine improved moderately, but some still had dizziness and fatigue. He says the decision to add guanfacine to a child’s medication mix must be made on a case-by-case basis.

If the idea of administering yet another medication doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps you should change your child’s diet. In a study that was published in the February edition of The Lancet, which is a medical journal, researchers found that many kids who have ADHD have a hypersensitivity to food. The researchers determined this by starting kids on their regular diets and then removing certain foods over a few weeks to help to identify the source of behavioral problems. After the problematic food was removed from the diet, nearly two-thirds of children in the study who have ADHD showed a reduction in symptoms.