6 Facts on Adjunctive ADHD Therapy in Children

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When your child has ADHD, managing symptoms can be a challenge, which is why finding the most beneficial treatment plan is important. Sometimes that means other medications or therapies need to be considered as part of the treatment plan.

Adjunctive therapy can help

Adjunctive therapy, which is also called complementary therapy or combination therapy, can help round out a treatment plan. If a primary treatment isn’t working, such as stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD in children, adding additional medications or other therapies can boost efficiency and benefits of the treatment.

Intuniv is an FDA-approved adjunctive therapy

In February 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Intuniv (guanfacine), a non-stimulant, selective a2A-agonist, as an adjunctive therapy in kids with ADHD. The approval was based on a study in children, aged 6 to 17 with ADHD, who were given Intuniv in combination with a stimulant medication.

Results from the Intuniv study were positive

The study was a nine-week, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, with patients who were not responding well to stimulant treatment for ADHD. The patients received a dose of Intuniv in the morning or evening in combination with their stimulant medication. Researchers found that patients showed significant reductions in hyperactivity, impulsiveness and inattentiveness.

Behavioral therapy is a successful option

Behavioral therapy can be a successful adjunct therapy for kids with ADHD, and may even allow you to reduce the dosage of medication for your child. This type of therapy works on reinforcing good behavior with rewards and praise and decreasing bad behavior with limits and consequences. Keeping a consistent behavioral modification program at home and school is the key to shaping your child’s behavior.

Lifestyle changes are important

Making sure your child is getting enough exercise, sleep and the right nutrition can help with ADHD symptoms. Exercise can help your child burn extra energy and concentrate on learning new skills, but more importantly, it leads to better sleep. Good sleep is essential for kids with ADHD, as it can help them concentrate and pay attention. Though food is not directly related to ADHD, proper nutrition can improve your child’s mental state.

Parental support is key

Although parental support is not a traditional adjunct therapy to ADHD, it’s very important to keep treatment on track. Consistency is important for children to learn how to apply their behavior techniques, and they are more likely to succeed when tasks occur in predictable patterns and places.