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An open trial of guanfacine in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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Division of Child Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN.



Medications such as clonidine have been shown to facilitate calming, to enhance frustration tolerance, and to reduce aggression in hyperactive children. The use of guanfacine (Tenex), an alpha 2 noradrenergic agonist similar to clonidine, was studied as an alternative because of its longer excretion half-life, decreased sedative side effects, and more selective binding profile.


Thirteen psychiatric outpatients diagnosed with ADHD were rated at baseline and while taking guanfacine to determine its efficacy as a treatment for ADHD. Comparisons of Conners parent ratings within subject were used to measure behavioral changes in the subjects.


During guanfacine treatment, patients' mean scores improved significantly overall (1.27 off, 0.85 on, t = 2.55, p < .015) and in Conners Hyperactivity (1.63 off, 0.94 on, t = 3.69, p < .01), Inattention (1.92 off, 1.21 on, t = 3.32, p < .01), and Immaturity (1.81 off, 0.92 on, t = 3.77, p < .01) factors.


This preliminary study indicates that guanfacine is a beneficial and useful treatment of ADHD, reducing hyperactive behaviors and enabling greater attentional ability with minimal side effects. We are currently collecting data in a double-blind study measuring guanfacine's efficacy with and in comparison to methylphenidate.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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