Page 1 of 10Copyright 2012 • Review Completed on08/10/2012
Therapeutic Class Review ADHD Agents and Stimulants
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common psychiatricdisorder that is often diagnosed during childhood; however, children with ADHD may continue tomanifest symptoms into adulthood.
The core symptoms of ADHD utilized in the diagnosis of thedisorder include hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Untreated, or undertreated, ADHD isassociated with adverse sequelae, including delinquent behavior, antisocial personality traits,substance abuse and other comorbidities
. Several central nervous system agents are Food andDrug Administration (FDA)-approved for the treatment of ADHD, including the cerebral stimulants(amphetamines and methylphenidate derivatives), as well as atomoxetine (Strattera
), clonidineextended-release (Kapvay
), and guanfacine extended-release (Intuniv
The cerebral stimulantagents are classified as Schedule II controlled substances due to their potential for abuse.
Atomoxetine, clonidine extended-release, and guanfacine extended-release are not classified ascontrolled substances.
Clonidine and guanfacine, extended-release formulations, are approvedas adjunctive therapy with stimulant medications as well as monotherapy.
Some cerebralstimulant agents are indicated for the treatment of a variety of sleep disorders. Narcolepsy is a sleepdisorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and intermittent manifestations of rapid eyemovement (REM) sleep during wakefulness (American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 2007).Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common chronic disorder that often requires lifelong care.Cardinal features of OSA include obstructive apneas, hypopneas, or respiratory effort relatedarousals; daytime symptoms attributable to disrupted sleep (e.g., sleepiness, fatigue, poor concentration); and signs of disturbed sleep (e.g., snoring, restlessness, or resuscitative snorts).
Circadian rhythm sleep disorder consists of a persistent/recurrent pattern of sleep interruption. Theshift work type occurs in individuals who work non-standard hours (e.g., night work, early morningwork and rotating schedules), and is characterized by excessive sleepiness and/or insomnia.
) and armodafinil (Nuvigil
) are both FDA-approved to improve wakefulness inadult patients with excessive sleepiness associated with narcolepsy, OSA, and shift work sleepdisorder. These agents are classified as Schedule IV controlled substances because they have beenshown to have been shown to produce psychoactive and euphoric effects similar to stimulants.
Sodium oxybate (Xyrem
) is γ-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), a known drug of abuse. It is approved for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness and cataplexy in patients with narcolepsy. It isclassified as a Schedule III controlled substance. However, non-medical uses of sodium oxybate areclassified under Schedule I.
Several generic ADHD agents and stimulants are currently available.Specifically, at least one short-, intermediate-, and long-acting agents are available generically.
Table 1. Current Medications Available in the Class
Generic(Trade Name)Food and Drug Administration-Approved IndicationsDosage Form/StrengthGenericAvailabilitySingle-Entity Products
Anorexigenic Agents and Respiratory and Cerebral Stimulants-Amphetamines
*)Treatment of ADHD Capsule (Adderall XR
):5 mg10 mg15 mg20 mg25 mg30 mgTablet (Adderall