Alternatives to Focalin
Nonstimulant Medications for ADHDCurrently, there are only two nonstimulant medications approved for treating ADHD: Strattera® (atomoxetine) and Intuniv™ (guanfacine ER). The other medications listed below are not approved for ADHD and are usually used when other approved medications have failed.
Strattera was the first nonstimulant approved for the treatment of ADHD. It is approved for children ages six and older, adolescents, and adults. Unlike most other ADHD medications, Strattera is not a controlled substance, which means that it is unlikely to be abused. Also, because it is not a controlled substance, the rules for prescribing and dispensing this medication are not as strict.
Unlike prescriptions for stimulants, Strattera prescriptions can be faxed or phoned to your pharmacy and can be refilled without getting a new prescription each time (if your healthcare provider approves).
Intuniv is approved for treating ADHD in individuals 6 though 17 years of age; it is not yet approved for use in adults. Like Strattera, it is not a controlled substance. Intuniv is a long-acting form of guanfacine. The short-acting version of guanfacine (Tenex®) is approved for treating high blood pressure and has been used for quite some time in an "off-label" fashion for treating ADHD.
Off-Label ADHD Medications
Sometimes, when approved ADHD medications have not worked for a child (or cannot be taken due to the side effects), your child's healthcare provider may suggest using another medicine "off-label" to treat the child's ADHD. An off-label use means that a prescription medicine is used to treat a disease or condition other than what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it to treat.
Although the FDA regulates how a medication can be advertised or promoted by the manufacturer, these regulations do not restrict a healthcare provider's ability to prescribe the medication for different conditions, in different doses, or for different lengths of time. The practice of prescribing medication for periods of time or for conditions not FDA-approved is known as "off-label" use.
The following are medications that have not been approved for the treatment of ADHD, but are sometimes used to treat ADHD:
- Bupropion (Aplenzin™, Budeprion SR®, Budeprion XL®, Buproban®, Forfivo™ XL, Wellbutrin®, Wellbutrin SR®, Wellbutrin XL®, Zyban®)
- Clonidine (Catapres®)
- Desipramine (Norpramin®)
- Short-acting guanfacine (Tenex)
- Imipramine (Tofranil®)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor®, Effexor XR®).