Saturday, April 14, 2012

ADHD Medications in Young Children (3-5)

Ok so I was asked about ADHD medication for a 5yr old little boy. So, I researched about it and found some notable information.

Methylphendate is the most common medication used to treat ADHD. It's use in children under 6 has not been FDA approved. Brand names for this med are Ritalin, Concerta, Methylin and Metadate. 

I found "The Preschool ADHD Treatment Study" or "PATS" which is the first large long term study done to determine the asfety and effectiveness of treat young/preschool children, ages 3-5, who have ADHD with methylphendate.

303 children between 3-5 with severe ADHD participated, with parents consent of course. During the study the young children's health was monitored closely, carefully and repeatedly.

To start, after behavioral training didn't work, the preschoolers took a very low dose of 3.75mg administered in three doses, up to 22.5mg daily (School age children doses on average range from 15-50mg daily). They were reported to have a noticeable reduction in their ADHD symptoms, and that different children responded best with different doses, meaning not all children need the same dosage. The best dose varied among the young kids, the average being as low as 14mg.
Despite concerns that these stimulants can increase pulse or blood pressure, during the study any changes in the children's pulse or blood pressure were minor. However, the medication did appear to slow their growth rates by a small amount. Through the studies duration the preschoolers grew about a half an inch less and weighed about 3lbs less than normal, based on the average growth rates in children 3-5yr of age. But, this side effect was also recognized not to occur in more than 3% of children on stimulants. 

89% of the children tolerated the drug well and successfully and 11% dropped out from intolerable side effects. Such as if the loss of weight was 10% or more of his/her baseline weight, it was considered a severe enough effect to be discontinued.
Side effects also include weight loss, loss of appetite, troubles sleeping, mood swings and skin picking behaviors. It was also noted that children in this age range were more sensitive to the side effects of this drug.

In conclusion, the study shows that children 3-5 with ADHD can benefit from this medicine safely, however children this young are more sensitive to the side effects.

This DOES NOT include Adderall. I was unable to find any studies on Adderall except that it is not recommended in children under 3 and hasn't been studied in those under 6yrs old.

There are natural medications that are made to treat ADHD in children as well. Please read
Natural ADHD Medications vs Prescriptions if you haven't already. Some of the ones that are promoted and accessible on my blog are Synaptol and Focus Formula. I know Synaptol which I promote on my blog is an FDA approved OTC natural ADHD medicine. (click Synaptol or FDA to view the approval).

I hope this helps anyone wondering about ADHD medicines for their young child :) Thanks for reading!!

~S Overly

Resources:  National Institute of Mental Health



  1. Thank you for this blog...My son is five almost six and is on concerta 18 mg. He's side effect were minimal to none. so although they give u the worst that can happen alot of children only have a small side effect that goes away..just wanted to throw in my experience for my little boy.

    1. You are more than welcome. I decided to write it like this because I wanted parents to get a view of both the good and not so good effects possible. This study shows again that every child is different and so is their ADHD. So, thank you for your experience, I appreciate readers having your experience as guidance.