APR 10, 2021 7:36 AM PDT

How New ADHD Drug for Children Differs from Adderall

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Over 1 in 10 children in the US aged between 5 and 17 have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Now, the Food and Drug Administration has approved Qelbree, a new non-stimulant drug for children aged 6 to 17 with the condition.

ADHD is a mental health disorder characterized by hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors. Those with the condition tend to struggle to focus and have difficulty sitting still for long periods of time. There is no known exact cause for the condition, although theories say it may be at least partially genetic and/ or due to multigenerational family stress and disturbed social conditions. 

Currently, there are around 30 stimulant medications available to treat ADHD. These include drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, which work by increasing norepinephrine and dopamine levels in their brain by increasing their release and blocking their reuptake. 

While effective in improving concentration and executive functioning in some, these drugs nevertheless carry the potential for addiction and misuse. The way they work also means that they could actually worsen mood symptoms by increasing irritability, agitation. 

Meanwhile, there are currently just 4 non-stimulants on the market. These drugs work by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine in the brain. Their lesser activity means that they’re not nearly as controlled as stimulants and that they can work for longer periods of time without causing side effects like insomnia and anxiety.

The approval of Qelbree comes after four Phase III clinical trials involving over 1000 pediatric patients. In December 2020, Supernus Pharmaceuticals additionally announced positive results from Phase III trials for the drug in adult patients. As such, the company now plans to submit a supplemental New Drug Application to the FDA for the use of the drug in adults in the second half of 2021. 

While Qelbree has been shown to work relatively quickly- within just one or two weeks and has straight-forward dosing, it does not come without possible side effects. In the first few months of usage, some patients reported an increase in suicidal thoughts and actions. The company also advises that Qelbree should not be taken with antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or certain asthma medications. 

 

Sources: Global NewswireHealthline

About the Author
  • Science writer with a keen interest in behavioral biology, consciousness medicine and technology. Her current focus is how the interplay of these fields can create meaningful interactions, products and environments.
You May Also Like
FEB 22, 2021
Microbiology
A Nasal Spray That Seems to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
FEB 22, 2021
A Nasal Spray That Seems to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
Reporting in Science, researchers have created an antiviral nasal spray that could help us get the COVID-19 pandemic und ...
FEB 11, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Antibiotic-Use During Pregnancy
FEB 11, 2021
Antibiotic-Use During Pregnancy
A study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, shows that fetal exposure to antibiotics in mid to late pregn ...
FEB 25, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Future COVID-19 Targets Rapidly Identified with Computer Simulations
FEB 25, 2021
Future COVID-19 Targets Rapidly Identified with Computer Simulations
A recent mechanism as detailed in the novel SARS-CoV2 that causes COVID-19 could help scientists find new therapeutics. ...
MAR 04, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
How Placebo Drugs for Pain Work in the Brain
MAR 04, 2021
How Placebo Drugs for Pain Work in the Brain
Researchers from Dartmouth College have found that pain relief drugs that work via the placebo effect reduce pain-relate ...
MAR 15, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
When Sample Temperature Matters: How to Keep Your Cool in the Lab
MAR 15, 2021
When Sample Temperature Matters: How to Keep Your Cool in the Lab
Temperature control is critical to many molecular and cellular experiments, but managing sample temperature requires eit ...
MAR 09, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Leprosy Drug Repurposed for Potential COVID19 Treatment
MAR 09, 2021
Leprosy Drug Repurposed for Potential COVID19 Treatment
New research published in Nature study shows that a drug for treating leprosy was repurposed to treat COVID19. The study ...
Loading Comments...