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Popular ADHD Drug Safe and Effective for Pre-Schoolers

a low-dose regimen of medication ranging from 3.75 mg total daily to 22.5 mg total daily. By comparison, the cumulative daily dose for older children ranges from 15 mg per day to 50 mg per day. The optimal dose needed to reduce symptoms ranged widely in preschool-age children, but on average, 14 mg daily was effective in reining in symptoms.

“One of the surprises was that in some cases, doses as low as even 3 to 4 mg a day were helpful to some preschoolers, which goes to show that lower doses need to be given a chance before higher doses are tried,” Riddle explains.

About 11 percent of those enrolled in the study experienced side effects severe enough to drop out. These included weight loss, anxiety, skin picking, mood disturbances and insomnia.

“We want parents to know that trained professionals can make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe helpful and safe treatment in preschoolers with ADHD,” Riddle says. “But do expect your prescribing physician to monitor side effects closely and regularly and to tweak the dose if necessary.”

ADHD is characterized by a wide range of symptoms, including inability to concentrate, being easily distracted, fidgeting and restlessness, among others. Left untreated, ADHD can interfere with academic progress and social and emotional development. More than 4.4 million children in the United States have ADHD, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 2 percent of preschool-age children are believed to have ADHD.

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