A New Drug Found Effective in Treating ADHD Children
A new stimulant medication, Evekeo, has been shown in a new study to be effective in treating ADHD in children between the ages of six and 12.
In September 2014, a new medication called Evekeo was approved by the FDA to treat ADHD in children older than three. Now, a small study provides additional evidence that Evekeo is an effective ADHD treatment for children, with generally few side effects.
Evekeo is an amphetamine salt similar in makeup to Adderall, composed of 50 percent dextroamphetamine and 50 percent levoamphetamine. The study, published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, looked at 107 children between the ages of 6 and 12, all of whom had been formally diagnosed with ADHD. Children with both inattentive and hyperactive types were eligible for the study, but the majority of participants (81.4 percent) had been diagnosed with combined inattentive/hyperactive type ADHD.
The children in the study were randomly assigned either two daily doses of Evekeo, taken about four to six hours apart, or two daily doses of a placebo. The dose was started at 10 mg. per day, and titrated accordingly over an eight-week period until an optimal dose was reached. Optimal doses were determined by the patient’s response and tolerability to the medication before experiencing side effects. After eight weeks, the children were re-evaluated for symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, using parent and teacher reports and the Conners ADHD Rating Scale.
The results indicated that, compared to the placebo, Evekeo was effective at controlling ADHD symptoms in this age group, starting at about 45 minutes after the dose was taken and lasting an average of 10 hours. Reported side effects were generally mild, and mostly included decreased appetite, irritability, and upper abdominal pain. For the most part, the researchers write, these side effects were expected, since they show up with most amphetamines used to treat ADHD.
No children with only hyperactive-type ADHD were found for the study, so it’s possible that further testing is needed to determine its efficacy on hyperactivity symptoms alone. The researchers also decided to exclude children with significant psychiatric comorbidities, in order to fully test Evekeo’s performance on symptoms specific to ADHD. Future studies should look at how ADHD children with concurrent psychiatric diagnoses respond to Evekeo, researchers say.
However, the results seem promising, particularly for patients who have had negative reactions to other stimulants and are looking for an alternative. Its unique makeup and quick start-up time may make Evekeo a new player in the field of ADHD stimulants.