Two New Medications Promise Greater Convenience, Smaller Potential for Abuse

An FDA advisory panel has recommended approval of two ADHD medications that have a lower potential for abuse.

Wednesday February 1st - 12:00am

Two new AD/HD meds, including the first-ever skin patch for AD/HD, are expected to hit drugstore shelves in the first half of 2006, pending approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Recently, an FDA advisory panel recommended approval of the Daytrana patch for treatment of AD/HD in children six to 12 years of age. Roughly the size of a silver dollar, the patch is designed to deliver a nine-hour dose of methylphenidate, the medication found in Ritalin and Concerta.

Daytrana, which would be marketed jointly by Noven Pharmaceuticals and Shire Pharmaceuticals Group, is considered by some experts to be a good option for children who cannot or will not take pills.

Researchers also predict that the patch will have a lower potential for abuse. "It's far easier for a kid to give another kid a pill than it is a patch," wrote William E. Pelham, Jr., Ph.D., director of the Center for Children and Families at the University at Buffalo, in New York, in the May 2005 issue of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology.

The other medication, modafinil, is already marketed under the name Provigil as a treatment for narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. Its manufacturer, Cephalon, has applied to the FDA to market the drug as a treatment for AD/HD under the name Sparlon.

Modafinil is a stimulant, but it is chemically dissimilar to the stimulants commonly used to treat AD/HD. The drug is believed to have fewer side effects than other AD/HD medications and to have a low potential for abuse. It will not be classified as a controlled substance.

A new study by Joseph Biederman, M.D., chief of pediatric psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, seems to confirm Sparlon's effectiveness. In the study, which involved 248 children and adolescents with AD/HD, those given modafinil showed significant reductions in inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

The study was published in the December 2005 issue of Pediatrics.

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