Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Intuniv For ADHD Children ~ What is Intuniv?

I have had a few parents asking about Intuniv. Either those who already have their child on Intuniv as well as those thinking about starting their child on it for their ADHD. So, I decided to look into and get all the facts as well as the opinions and experiences of parents with children on Intuniv to see how it works, how it affects ADHD, the different side effects etc. to help my readers better understand the medication, it's uses and any possible issues.This latest research I thought would take a day when it actually has taken me a few days to research it all!

What is Intuniv?

There are many children out there that take stimulant medications like Concerta or Adderall for their Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). However, Intuniv is a long active non stimulant prescription medication for children with ADHD like Strattera. For those of you that don't know, a non stimulant is not a controlled substance which means it doesn't  pose the same concerns of dependency or addiction as stimulants can.

Intuniv is used for and FDA approved for ADHD children ages 6-17. Though it has been known to be prescribed at other ages as well depending on what a doctor recommends is best for their patients' needs. Depending on the child's needs doctors or psychiatrists may prescribe Intuniv alone or in addition to an ADHD stimulant such as Concerta or Adderall depending on the severity of the child's ADHD and what works best for them.

Though I couldn't find a study on Intuniv for ADHD alone, I did find one done on Intuniv when used in conjunction with a stimulant. The 9 week study was done on 455 ADHD children who had been on a stable stimulant dosage for at least 4 weeks with some improvement but still having ADHD symptoms. The children were either given Intuniv or a sugar pill with their normal stimulant dosage daily. Doctors noticed an approximate 30% improvement in the ADHD symptoms of the children who had the Intuniv added to their stimulant compared to those given sugar pills.

How does Intuniv work?

Intuniv has the same active ingredient as some blood pressure medications such as Tenex, which is and has been used for years as an off-label ADHD treatments. Intuniv effects certain receptors in the brain which studies show improve attention, impulse control and memory, reduce easy distractions and aggression. 

What are the dosages?

 Intuniv is a once daily medication that comes in 4 strength doses which are 1mg, 2mg, 3mg and 4 mg tablets and each tablet looks a little different, which is nice to make sure they are getting the right dosages. Doctors recommend most children to start Intuniv on 1mg and then increase 1mg weekly until they are at the best dosage for them, which is usually 3-4mg. Again each child is different so your doctor my recommend starting your child on a higher dose or increasing the dosages more slowly.

When will Intuniv start working?

I was asked a lot by parents when the Intuniv would start working or when they would start seeing improvement, so i really wanted to research the typical time period where you should start seeing results. 

Well, as with any medication, it all depends on the child. It depends on his.her response to Intuniv and their weight as well. However, it could be anywhere from 2-4 weeks to start seeing improvements in his/her ADHD symptoms or even longer sometimes.

Since every child is different and may respond differently to Intuniv, your doctor may find your child's right dose in as early as 2 weeks or even longer. Like I said though, it could take 4 weeks or longer to find the right dose for your child and to start seeing results as well, so be patient.

What are the side effects of Intuniv?

The most common side effects of Intuniv I found are sleepiness, trouble getting up in the morning, trouble sleeping, nausea, stomach pain, dizziness and low blood pressure. The most troublesome side effects parents have mentioned to me have been sleepiness and trouble getting up in the mornings. These will usually decrease or go away as your child's body gets used to the medication but, still let your doctor know about any side effects your child experiences.

I some cases the serious side effects include low blood pressure, low heart rate, fainting and sleepiness.

My Conclusion: 

 I think that this is a great medication for children with a more mild ADHD, parents who aren't fond of stimulants and ADHD children who's stimulant needs a little help.

I have heard some great reviews from parents that Intuniv has actually helped their child a lot with their attention, impulsive behaviors and aggression. However, a lot of parents have also mentioned the sleepiness it causes or that they have trouble getting their child up in the morning, usually though they say it goes away over time which I think is probably just the child's body getting used to the new medicine. Most have said that when the side effects began to improve so did the ADHD symptoms.

Remember that Intuniv has the active ingredient as blood pressure medicines, so if you are thinking about Intuniv for your son/daughters ADHD make sure you let your doctor know if he/she has any blood pressure or heart issues at all. 

If you know anything more on Intuniv you would like to add including you and your child's own experience with the medication please feel free to share through commenting below or you can email me anytime by clicking the Contact Me button on the right of the page. 

This post is not a recommendation for this medication, it is simply the conclusion of my personal research on Intuniv and shouldn't replace a doctors advice. 


  1. I think your retarded. The study was not
    Intuniv by itself it was with a stimulant. Also what are ADHD symptoms? Plus you could not find a study with Intuniv and ADHD is that not what they use this medication for on children. It is a blood pressure medication. My kid does not have high blood pressure. Also it effects receptors in the brain. Is there one long term study on intuniv and it effects on a growing child's brain. The question is what or who started this whole ADHD tn kids in the first place. The truth is that ADHD does not exist and doctors and pharma need more money and children were the answer. You must have been on Ritalin when you were a child because your are f-ing DUM dumb!

  2. Anonymous, I am not sure why you are lashing out, I am simply writing out my own experiences as well as my research on ADHD.I didn't write this article about YOUR child, I don't even know if he/she has ADHD. However, I will try to answer the few questions in your ignorant comment. First of all, I was not on any medications as a child because I don't have ADHD, my son does. Yes, Intuniv has the same ingredients as a blood pressure medicine, here's an FYI for ya, there are MANY medicines that are used for different things, not always just for one condition but can be used for different conditions and symptoms. The reason that I was unable to find a study using Intuniv alone is because it is not meant to be used alone. It is usually meant to be used in conjunction (along with) another medication to help more,doctors may use it differently though depending on the child and his/her needs. I won't take up the time to list the symptoms of ADHD because I have already written an article on it so if you would like to look at it you can. It is titled "The Signs and Symptoms of ADHD" which you can look up in the search box at the top of the page. ADHD has been a diagnosis for a VERY long time, which I also wrote and article on the history of ADHD if you would like to read that as well, you may educate yourself more on the history of this diagnosis. Everyone is intitled to their own opinion, but, whatever you would like to call it, the signs/symptoms of ADHD do exist in both children and adults. It is ubsurd to think that ADHD can only occur in adults. I know that only one of my children have ADHD and you can definitely tell the difference. I don't mean to be offensive, but those that don't believe in ADHD have obviously never dealt with seeing their child go through the struggles of it.

    1. Very nice reply. I agree with you completely.

    2. I have a daughter who was diagnosed with ASD, ADHD and Anxiety. Watching her struggle, be angry and very unhappy is horrible, never mind the fear and frustration of her physically attacking ourselves and her little sister. Putting our daughter on medication was the hardest decision we have ever made! It is not something anyone plans or wants to do. But within a week of her being on Intuniv we started seeing improvements. Now 3 months later she is happy and calm. She is making friends at school which she never had, she is doing her school work and actually enjoying it. Our whole household has changed for the better. She still has some symptoms obviously, but we are able to deal with them.
      So to anonymous who wrote the very rude comment u shouldn't judge until you have walked in others shoes which you obviously haven't or you wouldnt be so ignorant, and to S Overly thank you for your article.

    3. Very good answer