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How Effective Are the Treatment Options for Children with ADHD?

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ADHD treatment options, ADHD and other medication bottles


Several stimulants are used in children of all ages for the treatment of ADHD symptoms. Stimulants work to improve symptoms by increasing and balancing levels of neurotransmitters (chemical "messengers") in the brain.

While other FDA-approved medications are available, the ones that were evaluated in the AHRQ's report include methylphenidate (such as Ritalin®), dextroamphetamine (such as Dexedrine®), and mixed amphetamine salts (such as Aderall®).

CEPAC's Stance on Medication:

  • Taking methylphenidate (such as Ritalin®) can be as good or better than usual care (taking no medications or treatment steps to manage ADHD) for preschoolers, and better than usual care for children over age 6.
  • For children over age 6 with ADHD, other medications may be as effective as methylphenidate, particularly in the cases of certain symptoms or issues (such as tics). However, other medications have comparatively lower long-term effectiveness than methylphenidate.

Next: Combined Therapy


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