New ADHD drug is safe for children as ‘it’s not addictive’ and can even be taken before bedtime

The first drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that can be taken before bed could soon be available in the UK.

Experts say it could be a better option for children than other medicines for them that contain stimulants, which increase heart rate and can be addictive.

The medication, called clonidine hydrochloride, was approved for children aged six years and up in the US last week and is taken in liquid or tablet form.

Stimulant medications commonly used to treat ADHD work by increasing activity in the brain areas that control attention and behaviour. As a result, most must be taken in the morning or in two three doses throughout the day, however if taken too late they can disrupt sleep.

Clonidine hydrochloride is a non-stimulant medicine that can be taken at night time, however. According to its manufacturer, Tris Pharma, Onyda XR can be combined with stimulants or used on its own and should be widely available in the US later this year.

The first drug for ADHD  that can be taken before bed could soon be available in the UK and even be made available for children because it’s not addictive  (Stock image)

Doncaster-based GP Dr Dean Eggitt said the new medication has the potential to massively benefit treatment in the future.

He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘ADHD drugs at the moment are potent stimulants and therefore are addictive. Not only are they addictive but when they stimulate you, they can cause changes to your heart rate and side effects like weight loss. Therefore, they require very close monitoring.

‘The fact that this new drug doesn’t have that stimulant effect and won’t cause a faster heart rate means that it won’t require such intense oversight – making it much more widely available for use. If it’s less toxic and less addictive, it sounds like a brilliant new drug.’

Clonidine hydrochloride has been developed from an older drug used to treat high blood pressure 50 years ago. Its main component clonidine has been used to treat severe pain in cancer patients.

Britain is experiencing a national supply shortage of ADHD medication – with the Government blaming ‘increased global demand’ and ‘manufacturing issues’.

According to ADHD UK, around 150,000 people reported issues accessing their medication in February.