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Curr Opin Pediatr. 2005 Apr;17(2):265-74.

Update: attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in the primary care office.

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Children's Hospital, Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) affects 7.5% of children, making it among the more common behavioral disorders of childhood. Pediatricians increasingly are expected to recognize AD/HD, as well as diagnose and manage it in the primary care setting. This article reviews recent developments in the care of the pediatric AD/HD patient, with emphasis on information enhancing primary care management.


Studies published in 2004 provide evidence to guide the treatment of AD/HD. The AD/HD literature continues to support the important role of genetics in its etiology. The absence of universal genetic or neuroimaging findings indicates that history from multiple sources and physical exam remain the standard diagnostic method. Comorbid medical problems, such as sleep disruption and growth suppression, continue to be better understood in the setting of AD/HD, as do the substantial impacts of comorbid learning and psychiatric disorders. Despite great interest in alternative, nonstimulant and behavioral treatments, methylphenidate and amphetamine-based medications remain the mainstay of AD/HD intervention.


AD/HD is a common medical condition with implications for long-term safety and life function, such as academic success, accident occurrence, and drug use. Identification and treatment is increasingly based in the primary care office, where children must be monitored for co-occurring disorders and referred for additional supports when necessary. Tools and guidelines provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provide a framework for consistent and competent AD/HD care supported by current evidence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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