Are Trial-and-Error Meds a Thing of the Past?


"My doctor says there's a new test to determine if medication will help a child. What is it?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

Last year, a research team at the Medical University of South Carolina reported that it discovered a gene mutation directly involved in the metabolism of methylphenidate (Ritalin).

The researchers suggested that, some day, it might be possible for a genetic test to determine whether methylphenidate will be effective for a child with ADHD.

It often takes a long time to develop inexpensive and convenient clinical applications from basic research findings. For now, we still determine which stimulant will work best by trial and experience.

[Editor's Note: Read "Mutation Related to ADHD Drug Metabolism Discovered" at]

Larry Silver, M.D., is the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities. He is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
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