Drug-Free Medical Device to Treat ADHD in Children

The first, drug-free medical device to treat ADHD in children has just been approved by the FDA. It will be marketed as a treatment for children from 7 to 12 years old who currently are not taking prescribed medication for the disorder.

What it is

According to previous studies, the device increases activity in parts of the brain that are crucial in regulating emotion, behavior, and attention.

About the size of a cellphone, the device has a wire that attaches to a patch. Place that patch on the child’s forehead, and they’ll wear it overnight.

Studies find that some ADHD medications may increase the risk of psychosis.

How it works

The device works by delivering a low-level electrical pulse through a patch on a child’s forehead.

Possible side effects

Although the study didn’t prove any severe negative reactions, there were some side effects including headache, drowsiness, fatigue, teeth clenching, and increased appetite.

Dr. Tara Narula said it was a small study, and it was over a short period. They don’t know what it would be like if kids were on medication when they used this.

According to a national survey in 2016, over 6 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD in the U.S. However; it’s also one of the more difficult disorders to diagnose. Dr. Narula emphasized that the symptoms must affect their day-to-day function.

“The key thing is that it’s prevalent, so you see it at school and home,” she said. “It lasts longer than six months, and it affects function.” If their function is limited academically, socially, or emotionally, that’s when you might want your child to be seen and evaluated.

Stimulants, such as Ritalin or Adderall, are typically used to treat ADHD. However, Dr. Narula said it’s important to discuss other options, such as behavioral therapy, because stimulants can have side effects such as anorexia, poor growth, and cardiovascular problems.