New ADHD Medications You Need to Know About
Cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are on the rise. In 2003, 7.8 percent of children were diagnosed with ADHD. In 2007, this number was 9.5 percent. And it hit 11 percent in 2011.
But there’s good news, even as ADHD cases rise, there’s also a rise in new research, treatments, and medications. These new drugs give families with ADHD more options, and more options mean not only more effective treatments but safer alternatives if traditional medications aren’t a good fit for you and your lifestyle.
Traditional ADHD Medications
Today, children and adults with ADHD have a wide range of ADHD medication and treatment options.
This includes stimulant drugs, such as Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall (amphetamine). There are also non-stimulant drugs that were first approved started in 2003 and include Intuniv (guanfacine) and Strattera (atomoxetine). Lastly, there are also a wide range of therapies, including behavioral therapy and psychotherapy.
However, promising research is pointing to new medications (and new drug combinations) that may revolutionize how we treat ADHD.
Today’s Latest ADHD Treatments (Including What’s on the Horizon)
As of just a few months ago, there were more than 31,000 different studies and research papers on ADHD treatment, representing an ever-growing body of work looking to find the latest, greatest and most effective options.
Here’s what’s new and what’s coming:
A Combo Attack
One recent study followed children and teenagers ages 7 to 14 for two months. The study participants were either given guanfacine or d-methylphenidate, or both.
The participants were then monitored with brain scans. The scans showed that people who had a combination of both drugs showed the greatest improvements in brain activity, specifically in the areas of reduced ADHD symptoms and improved thinking skills.
Aptensio XR (Methylphenidate HCI Extended Release)
Released just a few years ago, Aptensio XR contains the same active ingredient as Ritalin and works as a central nervous stimulant. However, what sets this drug apart is its long-acting effects. In fact, you only need to take it once a day.
“Aptensio XR begins working in less than an hour, and, when used correctly, lasts for 12 hours,” explains ADDitude magazine. “About 40 percent of the active ingredient is delivered immediately; the other 60 percent is delivered slowly through the rest of the day. Aptensio XR is designed to deliver two medication ‘peaks’ when the medication’s effect is strongest – one approximately two hours after it is taken and another about eight hours later.”
The FDA recently approved this new medication after multiple double-blind, placebo-controlled research studies, one of which found that more than 73 percent of the children in the study had significantly improved ADHD symptoms.
Mydayis (mixed salts of a single-entity amphetamine product) was approved by the FDA just a few months ago and is intended for children ages 13 years or older. You only need to take it once a day and its intended to improve focus and reduce impulsivity. Unlike some other drugs, its effects may last as long as 16 hours.
“Long-term coverage is ideal and what many people with this disorder have been waiting for,” reports the U.S. News and World Report.
Mydayis was approved after five short-term trials.
Potentially Coming Soon: Dasotraline
This drug just wrapped up the third phase in the FDA's approval process. In the fall of 2018, the FDA determined that more studies needed to be completed before approval and release to the public.
Dasotraline is a brand-new chemical that's known as a dual-acting dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (DNRI).
What's promising about this new drug is its extended efficacy. In fact, it can have a continuous therapeutic effect on ADHD symptoms for a full 24 hours, giving people with ADHD far greater freedom and convenience than many other medications offer.
Why Are New ADHD Medications Important?
Dr. Rakesh Jain, clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at Texas Tech University School of Medicine, was interviewed by U.S. News and World Report about Dasotraline and other new ADHD medications.
“I’m hoping to welcome Dasotraline into my armament,” Jain tells the publication, specifically because having more options is good for the public. “No one medication will solve all of my patient’s difficulties,” warns Jain. “If a medication works well for one individual, then that is the right one for them. If someone only needs assistance for 8 or 9 hours, thank goodness for that medication.”
One of the most important factors is not only someone’s responsiveness to a certain ADHD drug but also its side effects. Different medications interact with other drugs differently and have different side effects, so having more options creates more safety for the health of you and your loved ones.
If any of these promising or new ADHD medications and treatments sound right for you, talk to your doctor about your needs. Your doctor can look at your lifestyle, health, ADHD symptoms, and other factors and ensure the latest FDA-approved medications are a right fit for you.