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Arch Dis Child. 2005 Feb;90 Suppl 1:i19-25.

Managing attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder: unmet needs and future directions.

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Victoria Hospital, Paediatric Unit, Hayfield Road, Kirkcaldy, Fife KY3 0TL, UK.


The management of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) requires a multimodal approach. Although shared-care protocols are suggested, uptake by general practice has been tentative. Behavioural management, both on its own and in combination with pharmacotherapy, reduces core symptoms and associated behaviours, such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Links with education and social support are also important for helping children and their families. Psychostimulants have shown to be effective in the treatment of ADHD, however, their short duration of action highlights potential limitations. Other drugs used in the management of ADHD and comorbid disorders include antidepressants, clonidine and its analogues, newer atypical neuroleptics, and atomoxetine, a novel, non-stimulant therapy that has potential to fulfil some unmet treatment needs. Further research is needed in preschool children, girls, those with epilepsy, young adults, and in those with associated sleep disturbance. Selected rating scales and careful history taking, allied to close links with schools, are vital for the initial and ongoing assessment of ADHD and its comorbidities.

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