Guesswork in prescribing medications for ADHD moves one step toward elimination due to recent genetic research.

testing for adhd genesUp until now, the prescribing of medication for children with attention deficit hyperactivity is often tedious for the physician and the family.  Children who do not respond to the first stimulant prescribed may respond to the next one tried or the one after that.

genetics adhd ritalin concerta aderalThere are two types of stimulants found to be effective for treating ADHD: amphetamine and methamphetamine.  A study involving 89 children between the ages of 7 and 11 conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found that subjects with at least one copy of the 7-repeat DRD4 gene had a positive response to methylphenidate (a methamphetamine) while children without this gene related to dopamine did not.  Methylphenidate is the active drug in Ritalin and Concerta along with several other ADHD medications.

This is good news for physicians and parents.  This may prove to become part of the prescribing process that could lead to finding the best medication on the first try.  According to the lead researcher in Cincinnati, Dr. Froehlich, “with more information about genes that may be involved in ADHD medication response, we might be able to predict treatment course, tailor our approach to each child, and improve symptom response while decreasing health care costs.”