Physicians might prescribe non-stimulant medications for ADHD patients when typical stimulants do not resolve symptoms, or when a stimulant produces significant side effects. If a patient has certain medical problems, stimulant medications may not be in the best interest of the individual. Medications belonging to various classifications might also be used when a patient requires treatment for ADHD and another disorder.
The non-stimulating medication is often prescribed for the treatment of ADHD in children and adults. The selective norephinephrine reuptake inhibitor enhances communication between the neurons that rely on the neurotransmitter norepinephrine by slowing reabsorption rates. Atomoxetine also does not directly affect dopamine levels. Though patients do not suffer appetite loss or insomnia while on the drug, side effects may include nausea and drowsiness. There is also a possibility that the patient may develop suicidal ideations while taking the medication.
The blood pressure medications clonidine and guanfacine belong to this category of pharmaceuticals that may be prescribed to reduce aggression, poor impulse control or involuntary tics. Clonidine in particular is helpful for ADHD patients who suffer from insomnia due to its ability to induce drowsiness. Patients taking these medications must have blood pressure and heart rate monitored regularly.
Bupropion SR or XL
Once only used to treat severe depression, bupropion has also been approved as an alternative treatment for smoking cessation and ADHD in adults. Though the medication has a chemical structure similar to stimulants, the formula is not addictive nor does it carry the same side effects.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Fluvoxamine, paroxetine and sertraline are examples of SSRI medications that help alleviate anxiety, depression or the irritability and aggression that ADHD patients may experience. The pharmaceuticals also have fewer side effects than tricyclic antidepressants. However, they may cause interactions with other medications and can occasionally cause drowsiness, gastric distress and restlessness.
the monoamine oxidase inhibitor is typically prescribed to treat the symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease. However, controlled studies indicate that the medication is also effective in helping children diagnosed with ADHD who are experiencing behavioral or learning difficulties.
Desipramine, imipramine and nortryptiline are three of the tricyclic antidepressants that have proven to be effective in treating ADHD in children and adults. One time daily dosages supply adequate 24-hour symptomatic relief without causing restlessness or insomnia. However, drowsiness and dizziness are some of the possible side effects. Caution must also be used as the formulas may cause irregular heart rhythms in children.
The bipolar disorder medication lithium along with the anticonvulsant medications carbamazepine, lamotrigine and valproate have shown promise in reducing the mood swings that some ADHD patients exhibit. When used in children, adults must monitor for side effects and youngsters must undergo routine blood and cardiac evaluations.