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New Medication Approved for ADHD – Here’s What You Need to Know

What’s inside this article: Information about a new medication, known as Qelbree, which was approved by the FDA to treat ADHD in children on April 2, 2021. Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to a treatment plan or medication regime.

There are many ways to treat and manage the symptoms of ADHD. The best treatment plans are individualized and involve a combination of parenting education, therapies, direct teaching of lagging skills, a well-balanced diet, and lastly supplements or medications.

There are two forms of medication used to treat ADHD – stimulant medication and non-stimulant medication. See details about all medications for ADHD here.

On April 2, 2021, the FDA approved a new non-stimulant medication for children with ADHD. This medication is called Viloxazine and sold under the brand Qelbree.

Here is the basics:

  • non-stimulant medication
  • Approved for children ages 6-17
  • Comes in once-daily tablets of 100mg, 150 mg, and 200mg
  • Not a controlled substance
  • Approved in the United Kingdom to treat depression since the 1970’s

How Does Viloxazine Work?

Viloxazine is a Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor which means it increases the levels of norepinephrine in the brain. Norepinephrine is a stress hormone and neurotransmitter that helps the brain focus.

Norepinephrine is also responsible for how the person reacts to stress and anxiety and is associated with the fight-or-flight response. 

Research shows that individuals with ADHD have low levels of norepinephrine compared to those who do not.

Research on Qelbree for ADHD

Research consistently shows that children have significant reductions in both inattention and hyperactivity symptoms when taking Qelbree, compared to placebo groups.

Research also indicates that benefits are noticed as soon as one week after initial dosing, and the medication is well tolerated (minimal side effects) for most children.

Lastly, research suggests the medication works well for all types of ADHD – hyperactive type, inattentive type, and combined type.

Side Effects

According to the studies, Qelbree is well-tolerated, and there is a “low occurrence of adverse events.”

The most common side effects are similar to other ADHD medications and include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • insomnia
  • irritability

However, in rare cases the medication can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure.

Children taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) currently or within 14 days should not take Qelbree. The interactions between these two drugs can cause a hypertensive crisis.

Considering Qelbree? Questions to Ask Your Physician

If you’re interested in learning more about Qelbree, or you’re wondering if it may be a good fit for you child, you must first talk with your child’s doctor/pediatrician.

It’s a good idea to create a list of questions for your doctor, so when you get into the office you don’t forget anything important.

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • How does this medication work in the brain?
  • What changes in symptoms should you expect?
  • What are the side effects?
  • How often will my child need to have doctor’s appointments to monitor the medication?
  • When should I expect to see changes?
  • How will I know if the medication is working?
  • How will I know if it’s not working
  • How and when should the medication be taken?
  • Are there foods that can interfere with the drug’s effectiveness that we should avoid?
  • What is involved if we decide to stop the medication?

Is Your Child’s ADHD Treatment Plan Working for Them?

As mentioned, the best treatment plans for ADHD are individualized and involve a combination of parenting education, therapies, direct teaching of lagging skills, a well-balanced diet, and supplements or medications.

You can read about how to tell if your child’s treatment is (or isn’t) working here.

At the end of that article, you can also download a free symptom monitoring log to help you track your child’s symptoms over time – this log is helpful for doctors appointments and to help you notice if your child’s symptoms are getting better or worse over time.

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