Formal training in parenting strategies is a low-risk, effective method for improving behavior in preschool-age children at risk for developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), while there is less evidence supporting the use of medications for children younger than 6 years old, according to a new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The report found that formal parenting interventions—known as parent behavior training or PBT—are supported by strong evidence for effectiveness for children younger than the age of 6, with no reports of complications or harms. However, one large barrier to the success of PBT is parents who drop out of therapy programs, the report found. For children older than age 6, the report found that methylphenidate (sold under the brand name Ritalin) and another drug used to treat ADHD symptoms, atomoxetine (sold as Strattera), are generally safe and effective for improving behavior, but their effects beyond 12 to 24 months have not been well studied. Little information is available about the long-term effects of other medications used to treat ADHD symptoms.
Press Release: http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2011/adhdpr.htm