Newly-approved ADHD medication provides option for children who can’t swallow pills

Qelbree, unlike other ADHD medications, is not a stimulant, and can be broken down and spread on food.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Last week, the FDA approved Qelbree for children who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a mental disorder that involves difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and/or impulsive behavior.

This is the first new medication approved for ADHD in over a decade.

Unlike some medications, Quelbree is a non-stimulant and a non-controlled substance, providing another option for individuals who do not react well to other drugs or those who deal with substance abuse.

“Every person responds to medicine differently, so the more options we have, the better able we are to find treatments that work for everybody,” said Dr. Felissa Goldstien, a child and adult psychiatrist with Norton Children’s/UofL.

According to the Associated Press, Qelbree helped reduce ADHD symptoms in some study volunteers within a week. Common side effects include sleepiness, lethargy, decreased appetite and headache. 

Aside from the variety it brings to the drug market, Qelbree is also unique in the way it can be administered. It comes in a capsule or pill form that can be broken down and spread over food for easier consumption.

“Anytime with young kids or kids with intellectual disability or developmental disabilities, they’re often not able to swallow capsules or pills whole — so anytime we have a different mechanism of action for kids who can’t swallow a pill whole, it’s a huge plus,” Dr. Goldstein said.

Over 6 million children and adults in the U.S. are affected by ADHD.

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