Back to school with ADHD – 5 things to keep in mind


Posted: July 23, 2021 | Word Count: 819

With school back in session for children across the country, consistency can be key as they have entered their first “normal” school year in over 18 months. Full-time classroom learning will undoubtedly come with challenges for some children and adolescents – but Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) treatments don’t have to be one of them!

Breaks from medication

During the school year, healthcare providers may encourage parents to skip their child’s ADHD medications on weekends, holidays or other breaks in what are called "drug holidays." Drug holidays are known as deliberate interruptions of pharmacotherapy for a defined period of time and for a specific clinical purpose and may vary from short breaks such as weekends, to longer breaks like summer vacation.1 Especially for children whose ADHD is managed with a controlled substance, parents may opt to take a break from the treatment while school is not in session.

More than a “school problem”

Recognize that ADHD isn't just a “school problem.”2 Even if children with ADHD are doing well in school, afterschool activities, homework time and completing daily chores may be a struggle. If you feel your child functions better with medication, it’s best to speak with your health care provider about what’s best before making any decisions on treatment.

No two kids are created equal

The pandemic allowed parents to witness their child’s behavior firsthand – it became strikingly clear to some, how ADHD may affect their child’s abilities during school.3 But it’s important to remember that your child is constantly developing and changing from year to year, so it’s essential to pay attention to behaviors, changes in activities and interactions with others, to ensure you are managing their care appropriately, with the oversight of a health care provider. Deciding to take a drug holiday (or shorter medication vacations) comes down to “when” or “why” it may be beneficial for your child to take an ADHD medication and what may have changed in their life since the medication was first prescribed.4

Timing is everything

Parents who helped their kids with virtual school during the pandemic may have seen the value of their children remaining on medication. If your child is returning to their ADHD medication regimen, it’s best to consult with your health care provider to consider the best time of day to take their medication to optimize effectiveness.

Other ADHD medication options

Taking a break from medication isn’t the only option. Your health care provider may recommend to reassess treatment options. The FDA approved a novel, non-stimulant treatment that is effective in reducing ADHD symptoms, often as early as week one.

Qelbree™ is a novel, non-controlled medication approved for the treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents, aged 6-17.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUT QELBREE

Qelbree (viloxazine extended-release capsules) 100mg, 150mg, or 200mg may increase suicidal thoughts and actions, especially within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed. Tell your child’s doctor if they have (or if there is a family history of) suicidal thoughts or actions before starting Qelbree. Monitor your child’s moods, behaviors, thoughts, and feelings during treatment with Qelbree. Report any new or sudden changes in these symptoms right away.

    • Your child should not take Qelbree if they: Take a medicine for depression called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), or stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days. Also, your child should avoid alosetron, duloxetine, ramelteon, tasimelteon, tizanidine, and theophylline.
    • Qelbree can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Your child’s doctor will monitor these vital signs.
    • Qelbree may cause manic episodes in patients with bipolar disorder. Tell your child’s doctor if they show any signs of mania.
    • Do not let your teen drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Qelbree will affect them. Qelbree may cause your teen to feel sleepy or tired.
    • The most common side effects of Qelbree include sleepiness, not feeling hungry, feeling tired, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, and irritability. These are not all the possible side effects of Qelbree.
    • You may report negative side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit www.fda.gov/medwatch.
    • Please see Medication Guide at Qelbree.com.

References:

  1. Ibrahim K, Donyai P. What stops practitioners discussing medication breaks in children and adolescents with ADHD? Identifying barriers through theory-driven qualitative research. Atten Defic Hyperact Disord. 2018;10(4):273-283. doi:10.1007/s12402-018-0258-9
  2. Iannelli, V. (2021, May 10). ADHD Adderall Drug Holidays for Children. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/adhd-drug-holidays-2634581. Accessed July 1, 2021.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, September 3). ADHD in the Classroom. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/school-success.html.
  4. Lohr WD, Wanta JW, Baker M, et al. Intentional Discontinuation of Psychostimulants Used to Treat ADHD in Youth: A Review and Analysis. Front Psychiatry. 2021;12:642798. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2021.642798
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