Some of the children that I work with in Hong Kong as an Educational Psychologist benefit from treatment with the relatively new non-stimulant medication Strattera. A study completed within the last 2 years suggests that Strattera (which is now approved for children age 6 and under) can reduce ADHD symptoms. Strattera, Treatment in Young Children an eight week study with 101 children between age 5 and 6 who were diagnosed with ADHD, found that treatment with Strattera reduced ADHD symptoms. Unfortunately, the results were not overwhelming. It was suggested that 40% of the children treated with Strattera were “much” or “very much” improved on a behaviour rating scale completed by parents and teachers compared with 22% of children who took a placebo. Unfortunately, because the study was small, the percentage of children in the “much improved” or “very much improved” category was not statistically significant.
The impressions of the researchers were that overall the medication did reduce symptoms of ADHD in the children who took Strattera and there were not a significant number of side effects in the majority of children. They concluded that Strattera could be considered a safe treatment option for young children with ADHD.
This study provides us some important information on the safety and effectiveness of Strattera in treating children with ADHD. Unfortunately Strattera does not have the quick and dramatic effect that stimulants can sometimes have on children’s behaviour but it can be quite helpful for any child that may not respond to stimulants. Most physicians still advocate starting with stimulants in young children with ADHD and we should never forget that medication should always be combined with behaviour therapy and parent training.