- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2007

A new treatment for attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder has proved to do what no others can: remain effective through evening hours, a pharmaceutical company says.

The drug Vyvanse was effective in trial studies at treating the disorder through 6 p.m. Other ADHD medications wear off at about 4 p.m., when many children begin doing homework or participating in family activities, say officials with Shire Pharmaceuticals.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the prescription medicine may help increase attention and decrease impulsiveness and hyperactivity in ADHD patients.

The daily prescription stimulant has similar ingredients to other ADHD medications, but the method of delivery is different.

“Even though it might be the same or similar molecule … there is an advantage for parents because the medicine has worn off by the time they get their children in the early evening,” said Dr. Lance Clawson, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Cabin John and former medical director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Now the kids can help them do dishes and do their homework.”

Dr. Clawson said Vyvanse delivers the medicine in a more controlled and predictable way than other ADHD drugs.

“When you take a pill, the variability of how quickly one person absorbs it over another … can vary by 50 percent from patient to patient,” Dr. Clawson said. “It’s not relying on the usual digestive process, but it’s absorbed by the bloodstream and reaches the brain in a predictable way.”

According to the FDA, the disorder affects 3 percent to 7 percent of school-age children. The neuropsychiatric condition causes shortened attention spans and difficulty controlling impulsive behavior. Children with ADHD also have low self-esteem, difficulty in school and troubled relationships, according to the FDA.

ADHD is “mostly genetic or inherited. There are some acquired cases, but it’s essentially where an individual has difficulty controlling impulses or impulsive behavior and in a school-age child, their attention is weak,” Dr. Clawson said.

“About 60 percent of individuals maintain the symptoms into adulthood,” he said. “As you get older, you get a little less hyper and impulsive but some impulsivity can remain.”

Shire Pharmaceuticals also sells Adderall XR, which has about 26 percent of the U.S. market for ADHD treatment, said Jessica Mann, the company’s senior vice president of global communications.