Behavior Therapy Cuts Need for ADHD Drug

Same results, at a much lower dose, when children get counseling, study finds

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FRIDAY, May 13, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A combination of behavioral therapy and medication may be the best means of helping children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and might even help them get by with a lowered dose of medicine, researchers conclude.

In fact, University at Buffalo researchers found that the psychotherapy-drug combination reduced the amount of medication children needed by two-thirds.

"One of the major findings of the study is that when using behavior modification, you can get away with tiny, tiny doses of medication, much lower than previously thought," ADHD researcher William E. Pelham Jr., Distinguished Professor in the department of psychology, said in a prepared statement.

Being able to use lower medication doses reduces the risk of long-term side effects, he added.

The small study included 27 children with ADHD, ages 6 to 12. The researchers found that, when used alone, both behavior modification and a new methylphenidate (MPH) patch drug treatment were equally effective. Methylphenidate is the stimulant used in pill form in the ADHD drugs Concerta and Ritalin, the researchers said.

Combined treatment using behavior modification and the MPH patch was more effective than either treatment alone, the researchers found.

The study, published in the May issue of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, was funded by a grant from Noven Pharmaceuticals.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about ADHD.

SOURCE: University at Buffalo, news release, May 5, 2005

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