Seizure drug tested as ADHD treatment

By Lauren Sweeney, Special Projects Producer, lsweeney@clickorlando.com
Published On: Jun 18 2012 10:16:46 PM EDT

Researchers in Texas are combining conventional ADHD treatments with newer approaches to help patients get relief.

Tayler Marek's parents have had a difficult time dealing with his aggressive behavior.

The 13-year-old San Antonio teen has ADHD and like 10 to 20 percent of children with the disorder, outbursts can be disruptive.

“They’re so over-reactive that they’re hitting people, hitting themselves, destroying objects, and this is often in response to very minor frustrations,” said Dr. Steven Pliszka, a clinical psychiatrist with the University of Texas.

Now doctors from the university are trying a new approach to treating the problem. 

Patients start on front line stimulant medications like Adderall, Concerta or Metadate. They take part in weekly family behavioral therapy. If that doesn’t ease the aggression, doctors prescribe Risperdal or Valproate, a mood stabilizer and a seizure drug often prescribed for bipolar disorder.

Marek’s family has noticed a difference in his behavior after the study. They said it’s changed him for the better.

“It helped me because I don’t talk back as much or get mad at my parents as I used to do," said Marek.

The federally funded study is also being conducted in parts of New York. Participants not only get treatments for free, there is also a stipend associated with being part of the study.

Clinical trials for ADHD medications are ongoing in various parts of the country, including central Florida.

You can search for them online at clinicaltrials.gov.

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