AAP updates ADHD guidelines in younger children and adolescents

Posted by: admin on: November 29, 2011

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently issued updated guidelines to help diagnose and treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in younger children and adolescents. Take a look and update your knowledge.


After a thorough literature review to evaluate new evidence, this document was developed to replace the clinical diagnosis guidelines and treatment recommendations published in 2000 and 2001, respectively. It offers clinicians 6 action statements for the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of ADHD.

Recommendations for evaluation and diagnosis include:

  • Evaluate any child aged 4 to 18 years who presents with academic or behavioral problems and symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity.
  • Assure that Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition criteria have been met; obtaining information primarily from reports from parents or guardians, teachers, and other school and mental health clinicians involved in the child’s care.
  • Assess the child for other conditions that might coexist with ADHD, including emotional or behavioral, developmental, and physical conditions.
  • Consider children with ADHD as having special healthcare needs and manage them according to the principles of the chronic care model and the medical home.

Treatment guidelines vary according to the patient’s age and include:

  • For children ages 4 to 5 years, first-line treatment should be evidence-based parent- or teacher-administered behavior therapy; if behavior interventions don’t improve, methylphenidate may be prescribed.
  • For children ages 6 to 11 years, the clinician should prescribe FDA-approved ADHD medications and/or evidence-based parent- and/ or teacher-administered behavior therapy.
  • For adolescents ages 12 to 18 years, the clinician should prescribe FDA-approved ADHD medications with their consent and may consider behavior therapy.
  • Clinicians should titrate medications to achieve the maximum benefit with minimum adverse effects.

Reference: http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Clinical+News/AAP-updates-ADHD-guidelines-in-younger-children-an/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/745970?contextCategoryId=40153

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