Do Children with Different Subtypes of ADHD Respond Preferentially to Different Medications?

This is a not-very-edited post on response rate for medication based on subtype of ADHD, which I'll update as I learn more:


Stimulants (especially methyphenidate):

There's some data that methylphenidate is more effective for ADHD-C than it is for ADHD-PI. For example:


Non-Stimulants (e.g., atomoxetine; guanfacine):

Clinically, I hear from psychiatrists that kids with ADHD-PI may respond better to a non-stimulant medication, but as far as I can tell, actual research supporting that is sparse (happy to be pointed to any research that shows otherwise!). However, we do know that:



New Medications (e.g., Metadoxine):

I've seen some research in adults suggesting metadoxine will be more effective for ADHD-PI than it is for ADHD-C , but they are also looking at metadoxine for kids with Fragile X (who generally look more like kids with the combined type) so maybe the medication will have a different response for kids.

Hyperactive-Impulsive Subtype of ADHD:

I'm not familiar with any research on the ADHD-HI subtype and medication response. Most of the research I've seen included a line that says something like "we couldn't find enough ADHD-HI kids to look at them as a separate group" (which is in line with research suggesting ADHD-HI may just be kids who are not yet old enough to get a diagnosis of ADHD-C).


©2018 by Stephanie Nelson, Ph.D.