Pediatric ADHD diagnoses have been on the rise in recent years, and while an increase could actually be a good thing (it means more screenings and awareness, as well as support and resources for kiddos and their parents), it's been over a decade since U.S. regulators have signed off on a new drug to treat the condition. Thankfully, that all changed last week when the FDA approved a new ADHD medication for kids.
Qelbree (KELL'-bree) is administered in a daily capsule and is catered towards children ages 6 to 17. Unlike nearly all other ADHD drugs, Qelbree is not a stimulant or controlled substance, which makes it harder to abuse than older drugs that contain amphetamine or methylphenidate.
U.S. regulators have approved the first new drug in over a decade for children with ADHD. Unlike nearly all other A… https://t.co/nnV0KOLYg1
— The Associated Press (@AP)
Although Qelbree, also known as viloxazine, is appealing to parents who don't want to give their kids stimulants, it's not without side effects. The medication carries a warning of the potential for suicidal thoughts and behavior, which occurred in fewer than 1% of volunteers in studies of the drug. More common side effects include sleepiness, lethargy, decreased appetite and headache.
In a late-stage study funded by Qelbree's developer Supernus Pharmaceutical, 477 children ages 6 to 11 were administered the drug for six weeks. Inattention and hyperactivity symptoms were reduced by around 50% compared to the placebo group, with some volunteers experiencing a decrease in symptoms within a week.
If your little one has recently been diagnosed with ADHD, the best first step is learning about the condition. Like many mental disorders, ADHD has a stigma attached to it. An expert recently debunked eight common myths about ADHD for Motherly, which you can read here.