Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
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The mechanism of action for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not clear. It is thought to involve an increase in the synaptic concentrations of dopamine and norepinephrine. Amphetamines block the presynaptic reuptake and promote the release of these neurotransmitters.  

Psychostimulants (amphetamines) are first-line agents for ADHD.  They are safe and effective drugs for this condition.  Two of the major problems associated with them are the short duration of action and the need for multiple daily doses.  These problems can be lessened through the use of these new once-daily products.  

The most common side effects with psychostimulants include insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss, emotional lability, and other gastrointestinal complaints.  

Contraindications to the use of psychostimulants include advanced arteriosclerosis, symptomatic cardiovascular disease, moderate to severe hypertension, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, and hypersensitivity to the drug or any components of the product.  

  Drug Duration
Short Acting Dexedrine, Dextrostat, Methylin, and Ritalin 3 to 6 hours and require multiple doses
Intermediate Acting Adderall, Metadate ER, Methylin ER, and Ritalin SR 6 to 8 hours. Some kids require an additional dose in the afternoon.
Once Daily Adderall XR, Concerta, Dexedrine Spansules, Metadate CD, and Ritalin LA (coming in 2002) 8 hours or longer...and eliminate the need for midday doses at school
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Copyright © 2001 Scott Toste, Pharm.D., R.Ph.
Last updated: 12/04/01