Intuniv for ADHD: Efficacy, Side Effects

Guanfacine or Intuniv Tablets

Guanfacine or Intuniv Tablets

Intuniv for treating ADHD

Shire’s Intuniv medication is quite new.  It was approved recently, on September 3rd, 2009, but is gaining increasing recognition as a treatment for ADHD.

Chemically, Intuniv is an extended release form of guanfacine, a blood pressure med that has been on the market for quite some time.

It works by stimulating alpha-2 receptors – this lowers blood pressure and may work in the prefrontal cortex to increase focus, attention and memory.

Intuniv is one of many options for treating ADHD.  To learn what all the main options currently are (and, more importantly, what they do and how well they work), see a Full List of ADHD Medications.

And if you want to learn about ADHD in general, see here.

How well does Intuniv work?

Several studies so far have been done into how well Intuniv works for treating ADHD and what kind of side effects it has.

So far, they say that Intuniv works somewhat less than the stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall and – possibly – somewhat more than the traditional non-stimulants like Strattera.

This is important because, though they are the best current treatment for ADHD, 30% of people can’t take or don’t respond to stimulants.

Parents in particular have concerns about traditional treatment for their children.  Intuniv can be used as sole therapy or with stimulants, to round out treatment.

What kind of side effects does Intuniv have?

In general, the type of side effects that you’d expect from a blood pressure lowering medication.  That said, we’ve noticed a few issues you should know about and that you might not learn about elsewhere.

The pros

Intuniv could possibly fill a lot of the role as a non-stimulant treatment that Strattera was supposed to play but didn’t.  It has a long duration of effect and can even be used in combination with stimulants.

And the short acting form of Intuniv has been on the market for some time, so we know that it is fairly safe in general.

The cons

Intuniv is very new, and studies so far have shown that it is not as effective as the stimulants.  Some studies have hinted at potential problems such as high rates of serious side effects such as fainting.  While the short acting form has been on the market, Intuniv is long lasting.

Remember, roughly 50% of medication side effects are discovered after it is released onto the market.


How well does Intuniv work?

The studies seem to show that Intuniv falls just short of sending ADHD symptoms into remission.  Roughly 55% of those on Intuniv in one study reported significant improvement compared to 30% of those on placebo.

In one major study, on one scale, people who started with an ADHD score of around 40 and took Intuniv had their score go down to around 19 on average. The accepted number for remission of ADHD symptoms is a score of 18 or less.

Those who took Intuniv along with stimulants went from about a starting score of around 29 to around 13.

There are some more interesting hints towards Intuniv’s efficacy we found in that study.  On the one hand, only 10% of participants said that they stopped specifically because they thought Intuniv wasn’t working that well.  And of those taking Intuniv with stimulants, only one person stopped specifically because it wasn’t working well.

That said, around 80% of people in total dropped from that study.  It was done over two years, but that is still a somewhat high number.

Other studies into Intuniv have had much lower drop out rates.

In another, smaller study, roughly 30% of people on placebo reported significant improvement, as compared to around 55% of those treated with Intuniv.  This difference likely means that it has some benefit and is useful but falls short of the efficacy of the stimulants, which work in roughly 70% of those treated.

Analysis of that study concluded that at low doses Intuniv is about as effective as traditional non-stimulants, and at higher doses is superior to the current non-stimulants, such as Strattera, Wellbutrin, and possibly even Provigil.

Intuniv Side effects

Different studies show different side effect profiles for Intuniv.  Some say that it has about the same rate of issues as placebo, while others show that around 10-15% stop using it because of some side effect.  As far as psychoactive drugs, a 10-15% discontinuation rate due to side effects is on the lower/medium range.

The side effects of Intuniv also depend on its particular use.  When used in combination therapy with stimulants, for instance, it has much less rates of sedation and sleepiness, and users seem to report less problems.  This is probably because its sedative effects that lower blood pressure are counteracted by the stimulants effect of raising it.

Some of its side effects take time to start showing up, with sedation in particular starting after 3 weeks of treatment.

Most common:

30-40% report sleepiness

25% report headache

17% in one study reported upper respiratory tract infection

10% report sedation

Other common side effects include dizziness, nausea, irritability and reduced salivary flow.


In one study, 5 participants out of 262 who took Intuniv  experienced syncope, or “temporary loss of consciousness.” In layman’s terms, they fainted or blacked out.

The clinical trials dedicated to exploring safety did not have such incidences, and it’s possible that the syncope events were environmentally based. One of the sufferers, after all, had a history of such issues. And guanfacine has a long history of use. So while those numbers are alarming, they are explainable.

Other possible side effects that may be an issue: head injury, suicidal ideation.

Like with all psychoactive medications, people using Intuniv should be monitored for anything abnormal like increased feelings of depression.


Intuniv is given typically anywhere from 1-4mg/per day.  A dose typically lasts for 12 hours, but may have some effect for up to 24 hours.

Related articles:

  1. Vyvanse vs Adderall XR
  2. Dr. Tuckman Answers Questions About ADHD
  3. Is There a Physical Test for ADHD?
  4. The 4 Secrets to Success with ADHD

126 thoughts on “Intuniv for ADHD: Efficacy, Side Effects

  1. I have a 9 year old son that has been on meds for 3 years. We started out with Focalin XR 15 mg. It worked for a little while but after a year it start not working so we up’d the med to 20mg. It made him non responsive and loss of appetite altogether. We lowered the dose back to 15mg and added Intuniv 2mg to see if that would help. We saw him get very tired after he came off of it in the afternoons. He would fall asleep when we picked him up after school and esp at 5pm. We saw no difference and he wasn’t getting any better. So we recently tried Strattera and did the step up method from 5mg to 40mg. This med made him so hyper… was better for him to not even be on medicine. Now we are trying Methylin 10mg twice a day. It works during the day but he is hyper at night. Has troubling calming down to go to sleep. He has been on this for 4 days. Have put a call into doctor to see if the hyper will go away and see what we should do. Doctor seems to think he has some other underlying diagnosis besides ADHD….we are looking into that. Anyone have any suggestions? Im looking into counseling for the family …son is already in counseling. Here is my child to a T: He is ODD, ADHD, also has sensory disorder with sounds, eating, smells; alot of built up anger due to divorce, step-father, school, school bullies, new meds. Can anyone relate?

  2. I’m so glad I found this thread. We just started intuniv two days ago and I was very worried about how tired he seemed to get around 4pm. We give him 1mg around 7am when he wakes up and he’s fine all day until around 4 and then he gets very very tired. He was diagnosed at 3 with PDD-NOS and Acute Anxiety Disorder. He’s been taking prozac since he was 3 and we’ve had wonderful results with it. Lately we had been seeing a lot of impulse control issues and hyperactivity so his autism doc suggested Intuniv. She suggested it last year, but we took a whole year to think it over. I will come back and give an update on his reaction again soon. Doc hasn’t said anything about increasing it so I know he’ll be on 1mg for at least 1 full month.

  3. My 10 year old daughter recently just started taking intuniv. She has been on medication sine she was 7, taking ritalin, methylin, and daytrana. I felt the daytrana worked the best as far as keeping her calm and focused. Only problem is she kept getting skinnier and skinnier and has been stuck at 43 pounds for the last year. We are trying intuniv in hopes she gains her weight back. After the first night of taking it, I noticed she was tired and went to sleep without a fuss. She was a little hyper and not listening before hand, but went to sleep without a screaming tantrum. The next day, she complained about a headache, and took a 2 hour nap. She has never napped since baby time. I figure it’s a side effect. The next night I had given her 1mg again, she fell asleep for an hour, but got up in a screaming tantrum and wouldn’t stop. Lasted for an hour, and kept crying how bad her head was hurting. Kept crying for an icepack for her head. I finally gave her some tylenol, she went to sleep 20 minutes after that. Her doctor orignially told me that taking this would help with her tantrums and being disobidient. I know I have to be patient, but just a little worried when she starts school again. When she wakes in the morining, sometimes its seems as if she’s not on anything. She still has her attitute problem, just not as crazy.

  4. My son has been on intuniv for a few months. He is 5 and diagnosed with Autism, high functioning. I was terrified to start the meds but knew it was time. He is anxious and hyperactive, lots of sensory issues affecting his learning in school and home life. We started him on 1 mg and is still on it. He took in the in the am and was falling asleep all day and was very lethargic and was up all night so we switched the time we gave it to him to the night time. He now sleeps beautifully and his anxiety and focus has become soooo much better, I am amazed at this medecine. We may go up to 2 mg we are still deciding. He has also had a hard time being toilet trained with poop but this has improved with the medication!! He goes on his own. His appetite is just fine as well. I was worried it would not be …

  5. My 7 yr old granddaughter has been taking Intuniv for months. Started with 1 mg. At first it seemed like the miracle drug. More well behaved and focused at school and home. It was great except for the side effects_ stomach/headaches and drowsiness. Then during spring break, we increased the dosage to 2 mg. Again, at first, the results were great, but then side effects became worse. Sleeping in the bathtub every night. Becoming unsociable. Not wanting to attend BD parties, go to church or many of the things she used to enjoy. Very moody, major meltdowns, crying over everything. Angry, uncooperative. nightmares. Tomorrow I will ask the Dr. to wean her off the med. I am scared for her and me. She is the same happy little girl.

  6. For 1 whole week we tried to downgrade and completely stopped giving our son the Intuniv, we gradually decreased it. Once the medication was no longer in his body, we saw a huge difference in his behavior. Running around like an animal, not having coherent conversations, yelling and screaming nonsensically, laughing hysterically is not my idea of normal. You would have thought this kid was a downright loon. Good thing we tried this while we had vacation from school because he would have been committed. Life before Intuniv = difficult! I cannot imagine all the stress and anxiety before that we had given him this medication = correction: actually yes, we have gone through difficult times without meds. I really believe it has made a difference for us, while my husband does not believe it does. As far as our experience with the other meds, the side effects were REALLY BAD AND as far as performance in school, the stimulant meds, DID NOT work. They actually made him very aggressive and even more “restless” – kind of like the opposite of what we were hoping to accomplish by giving him the meds in the first place. Until we “discovered” that the Intuniv actually worked for us, we might as well have not had him on meds at all. Medicating your child is a personal decision. Feeling like people trying to shove their own personal opinions down your throat about medicating or not is downright offensive. Everyone here has a personal story. Please be considerate and think about what you are posting because what may work for one person DOES NOT work for another. Otherwise, we would all be on the same medication, right? Reading the posts were informative but until we took the right medication for our child, the road has been very rocky. Now that he’s on it, our son gets A&B’s in school, he has had many playdates, even a field trip or 2. I do not worry about taking him to the supermarket because he acts normal and is very helpful. Before, taking him to the stores was a nightmare and there were a few times that he ran into the parking lots, giving me a heart attack everytime. We are going to have a great summer! I am looking forward to going on more outings and even camping! I hope that for everyone else, the heartbreak is over, that their meds work for them and I wish everyone here the best of luck and success! p.s. if you ask the pediatrician, sometimes, they have sample packs, and can spare 1 or 2, if you ask. In the Intuniv sample pack, I got mine in November this year, there is a $50 card, so that with your insurance, you can get free additional Intuniv, if you participate in their survey, they will send you a coupon for free prescription and if you go to the Intuniv (Shire) website, they may have another coupon for a free prescription. This was good for us financially as well because experimenting with trying to find the right medication for your child is mostly trial and error and we went through 3 different meds with 3 different dosages before finding that Intuniv worked for us. The doctors don’t always have samples, so it does get very expensive! Hope this helps.

  7. Wow. Just an update…
    We didn’t give our son the Intuniv last night, and tried doing a “family game night” tonight. He was WILD, jumping up and down, talking a mile a minute, crazy. I asked my husband “Is this what our life was like before??” and he said “Why do you think we never did game nights?!”
    Jon did the 2 weeks at 1 mg and gained 6 lbs! We went ahead on docs advice and went to 2 mg. Besides him falling asleep all over the place (this was spring break so I got to see it all), two nights were bad – the second night on 2 mg he woke up crying for no reason, just “felt sad”, so we switched from giving it to him in the afternoons and went to right before bed; a few nights later he either got up and had hallucinations of seeing tiny dragonflies in the garage or had a rreally vivid dream. So we’re back down to one mg but I want to ask the doc if we can try 1.5 mg. Still waiting to hear if the insurance will cover it. Anybody else have insurance cover their meds? Anybody on Medi-Cal?

  8. Just kidding… half life is 14-18 hours… guess I’m the moron lol.

    My psychiatrist told me that the drug’s effects peak about 8 hours after intake.  Although I haven’t been able to find this figure in published literature, I have been able to anecdotally confirm it.  For myself anyway… hope this helps!

  9. I am 23 years old and I have ADD and Tics.  I find the intunive “rounds out” the negative side effects of the vyvanse (I am taking 4mg intuniv and 40mg vyvanse).  Had some problems with orthostatic hypotension, but eventually my body adjusted.  Intunive has improved my grades, social life, and athletic performance.

    I’m not sure why everyone seems to be obsessed with treating their children’s ADD “without drugs.”  If your kid’s quality of life is better on a prescribed substance but you instead use “natural solutions,” you are a moron and I feel sorry for your kid.

    Hey parents, remember that these drugs are not for your benefit.  They’re for your kids.  Try to keep that in mind.

  10. My 9 year old daughter is currently on intuniv 3mg and doing 10 times better than she was a few months ago. She has been misdiagnosed for years and finally after having her hospitalized so that professionals could see first hand the behaviors she was exhibiting, we are on the right track with medication and a great behavior therapy plan. Now, we have tried several medications and have gone through several terrible reactions to some of the medications. However, I won’t tell another parent to stay away or that these medications are the worst ever because one thing I have learned is that EVERY child reacts DIFFERENTLY to medication. It is SO important to keep an open mind and work with your doctor on what is best for your child. I used to get on the internet and read comments like these where parents said to stay away from medications and they were horrible and I would follow that advice. I have since learned that while it’s helpful to get on here and read comments and other experiences, there is no guarantee that my child will have the same experience either good or bad so ulitmately I need to talk things over with the doctor. Also about diet, I fully agree! We are now on a strict schedule for meals and while it does include snacks, that is something we have to do because of the increased appetite side effect of some medications. Giving my daughter a healthy snack of a banana or grapes, etc after school is not a bad thing in my mind. She is now sitting and eating meals with us as a family and I know that she is getting healthy food all around.

  11. I have an 8 y.o. son with impulsive ADD. One thing that keeps me motivated with the treament plan is knowing that every child is chemically and physiologially different. My child may react completely positively to a medication that another child’s body rejects. We are just starting the meds after trying dietary changes, etc. We are on week 3 of Intuniv. Started with 1 week of 1 mg and now holding steady at 2mg. Our doc wants to keep him at the lowest dose that is effective and not increase just because a greater dose is available. He responded immediately. We started him on a weekend so he would have a couple of days to adjust. Also increased dose on weekend. This also gave me the chance to see first hand what the side effects were. I observed rather than asking him directly. I wanted to avoid the power of suggestion because he is so smart. His side effects have been sleepiness for the first couple of days. Very occassional headaches and tummy aches at about the same time each day – problem solved with saltines. He has been doing soooo great. Until today. He took meds 2 hours ago and is acting like his old impulsive self. Anyone know how long a dose takes to kick in for the day or if this is normal?

  12. I have an 8 yr old son who has tried it all. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and a mood disorder. He currently is taking Risperdone 3x a day and Intuniv 2mg, We tried the Intuniv in the morning and he was falling asleep in school. He now gets 2mg in the afternoon when he gets home. He still needs to take Melatonin at night to regulate his sleep. For the last 2 weeks he has had “accidents” with leaking of pee at night only. Didn’t know this could be a side effect. He is always pale now and feels dizzy consantly. He has ALWAYS been a picky eater so at a loss of what to do. He has tried Adderral, Concerta, Straterra, Tenex….. you name it he has been on it. I LOVED Concerta but he was losing weight and being small already it wasn’t good. He weighs only 47 pounds. No signs of the Intuniv increasing his appetite, but I think his stomach has shrunken so much he would be able to eat much anyways. Hope for some ideas, and good luck with your children

  13. @ Hollie
    We’re just starting on Intuniv, but I wonder if taking her off altogether would be drastic? She’s on a pretty high dose. Why not try toning it down first? The things you mention are bad (tantrums and hysterics are one of the reasons we are on Intuniv!) but it also sounds like she’s dealing with being on medication, period. I can only imagine, but a sensitive child must deal with being different (ie needing meds) at some point, and it sounds like she’s at that point. Obviously, if the meds are making her feel depressed, you need to change them, but I think your idea of a therapist might help her deal with the real issue of being on meds. If you do look into therapy, look for a Christian counselor (I’m not sure what you believe) – but – even young, the only prescription for self-hatred is the knowledge that she is “fearfully and wonderfully made” by a loving God – EXACTLY meant to be who she is, planned before the beginning of the world and loved for being herself.

  14. My eight year old daughter has been on Intuniv for over six months. We first tried stimulants, with a terrible reaction and some other non stimulants. We started with 1mg of intuniv and gradually worked up to currently 4mg. She has done wonderful with school work so I felt like it was working. Lately she has been falling asleep in school. She even fell asleep in the bath tub. She has always been on the dramatic side, but a happy child. Lately she is so moody and negative. She throws huge tantrums, says she hates herself, nobody likes her, there is something wrong with her and that she isn’t normal. This is breaking my heart and I dont know how to help her. The doctor wanted to put her on Zoloft because she must be depressed. I told the doctor that I want to decrease her intuniv and try theropy instead of Zoloft. After reading other comments, I’m thinking I should remove the intuniv altogether.

  15. @Cynthia: the study listed on the Intuniv paper says “Clinically relevant improvements were observed beginning at doses in the range .05-.08 mg/kg once daily…up to .12 mg/kg” I don’t know how much your son weighs, so I’ll give you the number breakdown for mine. He weighs 54 lbs/25.5 kg (1 kg=~2.2 lbs). That means effective dosage starts at 1.3 mg – 2 mg, up to 3 mg. You multiply your son’s weight by the ratio above (ie 25.5 kg * .05 mg/kg = 1.3mg). Obviously how your son responds to the dosage is dependent on his physiology and I certainly can’t give you a prediction. You can read through the list above, but common side effects seem to be: sleepiness, fatigue, headache, stomach pain, and small percentage effects of nausea, dizziness, hypotension, decreased appetite, dry mouth, constipation. Some people here report bed wetting, weight increase and vivid dreams.

    Our son has been on it (only 1 mg) for four days now. We’ve noticed he seems slightly calmer, and sleeps in the afternoon if given naptime. No other issues yet. AND, he was able to finish all the pages of “seatwork” given in class today, just like all the other kids!! I’m really hoping this works because I’m just not risking stimulants.
    God bless,

  16. My son is 11 years old and ADHD. He was on concerta for a few years. The doctor took him off and put him on 40MG Vyvanse. His behavior, attitude and movation to do well went down. He also devolped alot of rage. The doctor took him off and put him on Intuniv. My question to all is; what does of Intuniv will my son end up taking. I know you have to go through the different steps, but i’m concerning because he’s being switch three weeks before CRCT testing. Again Son 11 (ADHD)was taking Concerta 54mg stopped then Vyvanse 40mg and stopped. Correctly he his only taking Intuniv. Does anyone have an idea what doses he will level out and the side effects to lookout for.

  17. Diet, is huge, and most important. Get the book Disconnected kids by Dr. robert Melillo. no artificial food colorings, or pesticides especially on the fruit you eat the skin. Little fast food, if any, and lots of the good whole food stuff! Definately fish oil, cal/mag, and good multi vitamins. 3 Steps to conquering ADD/ADHD is another great source. All our efforts have paid off, but still need a little help with the school factor. Vyvanse, low dose, and usually only half of that, hope it helps with school starting back up on Monday. We’ve been giving half the 20mg dose a few times on break, and will stick with just school days. Would rather not medicate at all, but self esteem in the classroom needs a boost, as much as his grades!

  18. Just a side note, when I posted earlier I did forget to mention that my son while on Intuniv had really vivid dreams.  Not good dreams either, really bad dreams that made him sit still for a long time wondering if the person he saw in his dreams was actually in his room.  He’s twelve and its been a long time since he’s had any dreams that really scared him.  He told his dreams the next morning in such detail that it was really scary for me as well.    For those trying to work on diet, you may already be giving your child supplements, but if not, you should look into the benefits of a good brand of Fish Oil (Omega 3’s)  high in EPA & DHA.  There have been many studies done on the benefits and most of us are not getting a sufficient amount in our diets.  We also often cancel out the good with the bad with our diets.   I give my son Fish Oil, Grape Seed Extract, and several other supplements that do seem to make a difference, he also rarely ever gets sick.  I do a lot of research to try and help him anyway I can. Blessings to all of you and your precious children.

  19. We started my 6 year old son on Intuniv in Dec 2010 for his ADHD. He is currently taking 2mg of Intuniv with Vyvanse 40 mg. He did wet the bed once about a month ago although I never really connected this as a side effect of the medication, but I guess it could have been. This hadn’t happened in years and it didn’t even wake him up. I’ve noticed over the last month or two that he has been saying very negative things about himself and that he wishes he was dead, hates his life… For this we are looking into counseling. But the MAIN problem is that yesterday his school called and said he had a seizure at school. (He has no history of seizures.) They found him passed out at the lunch table and couldn’t wake him for almost 45 minutes. EMS was called and we went to the ER. CT scan, blood work, and EKG showed nothing abnormal. (We will be seeing a Pediatric Neurologist soon.) Last week we had taken him to the Dr., b/c I thought his blood pressure was low. He was complaining of a headache, stomach ache, dizzyness and feeling like he was going to pass out. Then minutes later he threw up all over the floor. By the time we got to the Dr’s office, his blood pressure was within the normal range, although I think it was at the lower end. This medication has helped with his impulsiveness and going to sleep. He takes it at night. But I think I’ve read enough here to take him off of the medication. We will contact the Dr. today about weaning him off. Has anyone else’s child passed out b/c of this medication? Mine has NEVER fallen asleep at school b/c he is on a stimulant and this keeps him awake.

  20. We started my son on intuniv a week ago, very tired on the first two days but after being on Adderral, he said to me “mommy I feel really calm” – music to our ears. we have had issues with bed wetting but no accidents so far during the day. We are seeing his nice sweet personality and he is not irritable. Definitely tired at night. We started him during spring break to work through the issues and not have him dealing with med adjustment at school. He was on 30 mg Adderral XR for the past two years and it was not helping him anymore.

  21. yes my son at 6 got very angre and wet the bed to he was on 2mg and i tryed it twice the only thiung nice about it was he went to bed when it was time but other than that no thank you i think they need to take it off the market for now and study it more. sorry to here about gordon hope it gets better for you

  22. My son is 13 years old we started him on Intuniv last fall before school. At first we thought it was doing wonderfully, then we started to notice a dark side about him, short temper seemed a lack of consience. We did not change it because things in school where going well. Then about 2 months ago he began to be sneaky and do things without regards to the consequences. He was grounded for texting all during the night, he didnt like that so he decided to take our vehicle and go live in the mountains. He was stopped by the police after 20 miles then he was chased for 6 miles where he crashed and totaled the vehicle. Thank God he walked away with only seatbelt marks. I recommend everyone STAY AWAY from this medication. We have wheened him off and his old self is starting to come back, things are looking better.

  23. @ Michelle. My son, 8 was on intuniv a few months ago. Started at 1mg for the 1st week, then 2mg the next week. Before we even started 2mg he was sleeping all the time, headaches, leg cramps and wetting himself without realizing it. It seemed to work nicely but the side effects were too much. The Dr. said they would probably go away if we started to increase but he could barely walk once the leg cramp set in. So, we went to Adderall for the ADHD, starting at 5mg. It worked great with a headache here and there. After a few weeks we went to 10mg, just to tweak a few things, and his focus is spot on and his grades are terrific. The best part is I only have to give it to him for school.

  24. My daughter is 7 and is having wetting problems. She does’nt even know she has to go. She has been on intuniv for about 8 months and she sleeps in class and seem like she is always at the nurces office. She is on 3mg. I think I will have to take her off of it or reduce it. It did help alot for ADHD but I dont know what to do about all the side effects.

  25. thank you france . i will do that . and as for diet we have done that to.he has taken intiniv to and it stopped working and he wet the bed side effect. i am goingto try med chang to it seems to be side effects to all the med for the behaveral so i am still trying but thank you fro the advice i go to the site right now.

  26. My son is 7 yrs old and is currently taking Metadate CD 20 mg. I have noticed he has lost his appetite in the last couple of months,he has been on it for about a year. I also notice that in the morning hes calm but by afternoon hes angry and very hyper. He has also currently experienced trouble sleeping. My question is for someone whos child was on metadate and is now on intuitiv. What kind of positive or negative side effects have you noticed since switching?I am just not sure what to do just looking for some guidance.Thank You!

  27. Scarlott,
    I went thru the same exact thing with the schools. we’ve been thru 3. you need to get to an advocate because the school is trampling on your kids’ disability rights. read your parent rights. they usually give you a green and blue book in nj. go to to get informed about your child’s rights. there is a good website for advocating. please do this because i had to go to court to keep my child in school. he was suspended this year at the beginning and did not attend school until november. if you tried every med out there with no results, consult with your pediatric or go to a pediatric specialist. i’ve tried intuniv for my boy and he is 8 years old. it does seem to stop working after a while which means you can either increase the dosage (we started at 1 mg but is now on 2 mgs. so far, he’s doing ok but i noticed lately he is losing focus in school) or try another med. sometimes it is diet that’s affecting, though there is a huge argument by drs. that say it does not have any effect. i know my kid with sugar is a disaster so i’ve eliminated the soda and only give him treats on the weekends when he’s home. also stopped buying foods with red dye. hope this helps.

  28. for the kids that have started taken the intitiiv as for the bed wetting never stoped we took it twice it is a side effect . he never did it at school only at night . and it stoped working my son has been on everything i think i am at a lost the school is such a joke they just keep kicking hem out he has a behaveral issues and i am not condoing them just dont no what to do after a yr of asking i am getting an iep meeting . he is a very smart boy . he has anger issues he sees a therapest to i have done all i can do now i am at a lose what to do next . help me if some one has some advice let me no . he is on 15 mg adderall and it is not working dont no were to go now…………………. is it normal for schools to suspend a 6 yr old 26 day sence the first of the yr help i nee advice …………….

  29. Thank you to all of you for your comments regarding Intuniv. Does anyone have a son/daughter who is on the autism spectrum that is on Intuniv? My son who is 11 is on the spectrum. He also has ADHD and OCD. He recently was diagnosed with Tardive Dyskensia as a result of a medication (Invega) he was on. He is very sensitive to medications. We have tried so many! He has had adverse reactions to all the t ypical ADHD meds. The past year we have seen an onset of extreme anger, tantrums and defiance. I’m at my wits end. The doctor has suggested we try Intuniv. I’m hesitant given the past results we’ve had with other meds and the horrible chorea he is experiencing as a result of being on Invega. If there’s a side effect to a drug, my son seems to get it. Please let me know if any of you are experiencing positive results in the reduction of anger while on Intuniv.

  30. Sheila,
    Thanks for the heads up on the weight gain on intuniv. Had not considered that and now I will watch for it. Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to post stuff so we can all benefit from each other’s info.

  31. We are currenly experimenting with Intuniv at 3mg. My son was on Risperdal at 1mg for 2 years. I took him off Risperdal just to try something else like intuniv. I notice without risperdal he is much more impulsive and gets angry quickly at little things. But we have just started intuniv at 1 mg first week, 2mg second week and now starting 3mg. If I don’t get much improvement with 3mg I’m going to try Risperdal/Intuniv combo. He has never been on Focalin and I can’t tell you what to expect but if you try that, please keep me posted as I would be interested to possibly try the same.

  32. My twelve year old son has been on Intuniv for the past 2 months.   He was diagnosed with Tourette’s, ADHD and OCD at the age of eight.  We have been very cautious about medicating him and so I chose to home-school to help with the attention problems by giving him personal one-on-one.  Lately his melt downs about a little of nothing began to come more frequently and were very tough for him and for his family to get through.  We tried Intuniv and found a little relief, his moods have been slightly better, his ability to stay on task has been also slightly better, but he has gained 5 pounds already.  He’s not a heavy child, but also not thin.  So this is not acceptable for us.  It may not be a problem for many, especially if your child has been on stimulants, which make many lose weight.  Just wanted to post, so if this is a concern for anyone, they can watch for.  We are going to try something different, just didn’t do enough for us.  I am really sorry for that, we had high hopes.

  33. We have just up’d my son on Focalin XR 20mg. He has been on it for about 3 weeks and haven’t seen any difference. He still has loss of appetite, some headaches, he has anger issues and has always had them. The dr. wants to drop his focalin xr to 10mg and have him start taking Intuniv 2mg i think…. I have been trying to read if anyone else has had to do this. My son is 8 almost 9, been on Focalin XR since he was 6 almost 7. My son has eating issues anyways…when the focalin wears off he eats me out of house and home at night all the way till bedtime at 8:15. He takes his focalin XR at 7 am every morning, capsule form since he can’t swallow pills. Can anybody tell me if they have used this combo and how it is effecting your child and how its working???

  34. liz, I have a 14yr old adopted and all his siblings and mom have all kind of mental issues,i try venese adderral and I always hate them one day i took a concerta to see how it may my son feel, I tell you it was horrible and I immediately took him off, because i felt very high my heart beat was increase and I had a funny high feeling,I cry because it made me sick toknow my son was feeling like that,anyway I had him tested in school and he came out with a reading disability and a problem focusing,the teacher states that when he is focusing he does well but as soon as someone makes a noice she lost him, my son also suffer from migraine. anyway I took him to dr yesterday and she stated that maybe all the recent headaches come from me taking him off meds and his brain working extra hard trying to focus not to mention stress in middle school. I’ve been reading everything everyone has wrote and I REALLY dont know what to do. im so scared, im supposed to start him on tommorrow, I just dont know what to do. someone please advice thanks liz

  35. Elizabeth, good luck on the intuniv. We are only two weeks ahead of you. Started on 1mg given at night. My son also in third grade and has asperger’s and/or adhd. No tourette’s though so can’t give you any feedback on that. The first day at 1mg he was dead tired. See my post of 3/7/11. That went away after day two and after one week we went to 2mg. So trying to see how 2mg does. Like I said, so far not encouraged by the impulse control. However, no bed wetting or leaky underware. But keep your son hydrated and have him drink lots of water to decrease headaches. Also, we went from giving him pill at bedtime to giving it to him in the am. That way his tiredness would happen at bedtime and not homework time. I do agree with your comments on the pizza. We eat pizza too with rice crusts and good stuff on top. In moderation and controlled it is a good thing especially for those on stimulants who need to gain weight. I was really referring to the general people where fast food and pepperoni pizza is the staple food. I know you are afraid of the medicine and I too am the same way. I’m trying to get off all medicine if I can by diet. However, sometimes its just a chemical imbalance that diet can’t fix and medicine is the answer. You know your child best and trust your gut instincts at every step. Good luck. Keep me posted.

  36. I love your rant about diet, because I most heartily agree. Two comments…

    When my son started Kindergarten in the public schools, he came home and was excited that they had a “choice” between chocolate and regular milk at lunch. Come on…you are giving a 5 year old a “choice” between what is otherwise a relatively healthy source of protein at lunch and now turning it into essentially a dessert. I know the Kindergarten teacher counted me in the neurotic mom category, but I was ticked. Especially when you have an ADHD kid and you are trying to control consumption of simple sugars. It was one of the first real instances where I realized I had no control and had to count on him to make responsible decisions. He and I reached a compromise. If he would get regular milk on M-Th, he could have chocolate on Friday. You do what you can do. He honors that still, now in 3rd grade.

    Second, I am going to defend pizza for a minute. My kid is very picky and very slender. Pizza is one of the only ways I can get protein and fat (and yes a wee bit of vegetables) into him. We mostly make our own pizza, so I have some control as to what goes into it, but pizza is not all that evil if done carefully and in moderation.

    My 2 cents.

    We will be starting Intuniv on Friday. I am actually terrified. This is the first drug we will have ever given him, and it is as much for his Tourette’s as his attention deficit. I appreciate everyones’ posts so I know what to look out for/look forward to.


  37. My son is now into his second week of intuniv and we are at 2mg a day. I give it to him in the morning. He has occasional headaches but I agree with Kim on another post that H/A is most likely due to low blood pressure. Try to keep kids hydrated as best you can that will help with H/A during the day. He still seems very impulsive and I don’t think intuniv has helped in that area yet. But we are still working on the dosage so maybe with some more time and correct dosing we will get better. I also whole heartly agree with you LIsa. Diet, Diet, Diet. Also the chemicals in the dye foods especially red die, very bad. Unfortunately, that stuff is everywhere, pizza at every birthday party and colorful cupcakes on top of that. It’s very hard because you don’t want them to eat it but you don’t want them to feel “different”. But the more “good stuff” you can get in them the better. Unlike most kids, our kids probably have what they call a “leaky guy”. That means stuff leaks out of their stomachs and into their bloodstreams which go to their brains i.e., all those chemicals in artificial foods and coloring. It poisons their brains and their behavior is different.
    So yes, Diet helps. I’m hoping to get to the point of a really good diet and no medication. I do wish that American moms (not all of you!! I know some try but general population) would wake up to the fact that all kids need to eat better. Lay off of the pizza, sugar and candy at parties and every other event.. My 3 y/o toddler has had cupcakes brought to her preschool classroom that were the size of huge muffins!! Really people!! Snacks have to be served at every sporting event (yes I’ve seen oreo cookie packs served at halftime as a “snack” If not at halftime right after the game chips and cookies) We are not doing any of our kids good with all that stuff. Then everyone looks around and wonders why are kids are all obese?? When I was young, I would run around all day and never even thought of “snacks”. Never had to bring “snacks” to the park just to play for an hour. I would eat, breakfast, lunch and dinner and that’s it. Obviously, I’m getting off the subject of medication and getting on a tirade about our kids eating habits. But yes we all need to try to get a better food lifestyle but its really hard when all that stuff is everywhere. My kid has done well at refusing things and yes I say “no”. But when you walk into a clothing store to shop and there is candy everywhere, it just boils my blood. Yes, its our job to control all that but after exposure to so much its more difficult than it needs to be. I know I’m preaching to all the wrong people here because I know anyone who is reading this is trying to do what’s best for their kids. I guess I just had to vent. Thanks for listening and good luck everyone in all that you do. You parents all ROCK!!

  38. Just wanted to suggest dietary changes. A couple of resources to look at. 3 steps to conquering ADD/ADHD, by Jon Bennet. Very good. We eliminated artificial food dyes, (look into that!), have went Organic in fruits and veggies, especially those you eat the skin. Increased calcium/magnesium, good vitamins, fish oil, focus formulas, all natural, and our son eats lots of “brain” power foods. He is so much better! So much better…though his school performance is not getting much better. I don’t mean behavior, just grades and academic performance. Therefore, even though our son is MUCH better, my husband INSISTS on medicating too. And we do not get bad reports from the school, he is not fighting or anything that disruptive. Has and IEP. Researching, and more researching before I allow this. Not sure its really needed, at this point I do not have a choice. Not liking what I am reading about Intuniv…May need to try Daytrana for a bit, see what that does for him academically!

  39. My 8 year old was dx with ADHD in first grade and Tourette’s in December. I was dead set against medicating until the Tourette’s dx and symptoms really started ramping up. He has been kind of limping along in school. We had a complete neuro-psych evaluation done in the summer of 2010 which confirmed the ADHD dx, executive functioning challenges, but high IQ. The psychologist said without the high IQ he’d really be in trouble.

    So, now with worsening tics, and about to enter 4th grade I have broken down and we are going to try Intuniv. Keeping my fingers crossed, but encouraged by the positive posts I see here. He has always been slender and a super picky/non-eater. I had no idea Intuniv could help weight gain, too.

    Thanks everyone!

  40. Started my 9 y/o son on Intuniv at 1mg last night. Gave him pill at 7:00 pm. By 5:00 pm the next day, he was very sleepy and took a nap. Woke up from nap at 6:15 pm did some homework, ate dinner and immediately went back to bed at 7:15pm. We have only been on it for one day. No night terrors or bed wetting. Keeping our fingers crossed. Not sure if it has help his impulsiveness or focusing issues yet. Too soon to tell. Keep you posted.

  41. My daughter has been on metadate, vynanse, and daytrana for ADD. We had to take her off of all of them because the stimulants caused vomiting. She began taking 1mg of intuniv at age 8 and we were able to make it through 2nd grade 2nd semester and the beginning of third grade, 2010 wonderfully. Nov. of 2010, I noticed the med was not working as effectively (eligible hand writing, failing test grades, unfocused). We put her on 2mg 2 weeks ago. She wet the bed once and had no idea. We have to give her the med before she goes to bed or she is completely lethargic during the day. She cries almost every evening (unusual for her; possible sign of depression). Thinking of moving her back to 1 mg and revamping her behavior modification reward plan for home and school.

  42. Where is Tenex brand? Perhaps they are working on something better during their lack of being on the market for over 6 months on both the 1mg and 2mg tablets.

  43. MY son is taking 5mg of focolyn and 2 mg of intuniv in the a.m. He had serious side effects with the strattera and the vyvanse. He started this medication last year and is still doing fine. The best part is since we introduced intuniv with the focalyn, he has gained weight and sleeps alot better. My son went from 32 pds and now weighs 58 pds. The medication is getting expensive and has currentl went up again. I found a discount for the focalyn which instead of 75 dollars after insurance it only cost 13. Cannot find anything on intuniv except for the one time coupon of 50 dollars in which I used last year. Does anyone know anywherelse i can look?

  44. My eight year old has been on Intuniv since May of 2010. We tried Ritalin, Straterrta. and Vyvanse. Terrible side effects in all of these drugs. He never got beyond 43 pounds! Very skinny with lots of tics etc. We switched to Intuniv in May and have been very happy with the results. The dosage has creeped up from 2-3-now 4 mg. Originally he took it in the morning, but was falling asleep at school. We switched to nightly and have stopped the morning dozes. His weight has also gone up to 62 lbs in 9 months. He looks healthier and feels much better. The non stimulant also lets his personality shine through without him being uncontrollable. Lets hope it continues!!!

  45. My 9 yr old son hast tried ritalin, metadate, daytrana,and vynase….all helped with attention and focus and hyperactivity…but  discontinued eventually due to tics, Gi issues or head aches…damn those side effects!…we went to straterra, and maxed out 1t 40 mg for his wt…initially ok…not as good as stim’s, but one day just stopped working.We are on week 2 of intuniv…homework is suddnly a breeze…coming home with A’s, but tired. Has intermittent headaches…which I am sure are from low blood pressure…they resolve almost immediately with a salty snack or chicken broth that is NOT sodium free. Appetite improved, and no longer needs melatonin to sleep. Last 3 days complains of leaking pee at school…had NO IDEA this was an issue. Thinking of putting pads in his underwear, hoping it will resolve, instead of stopping the med, and its positive side effects. WILL THIS RESOLVE?

  46. Hi Jessica, my son is now 8 years old and was on the Intuniv 1 mg until 1 week ago. The emotional component is concerning regarding your child, but your child is 3. My son when he was 3 was also very hyper but because he was so young, he was not diagnosed and the private/public schools do not diagnose until kindergarten or 1st grade when they tell you that you need an iep…. Or, it could be because he is so tired from not sleeping well from the med, he is overly cranky. What you are going thru now is what happened to us when we put our son on Focalin, another ADHD med, he was so revved up from it that he did not go to sleep past midnight and then the next day would be overly tired, cranky and bad at school. 3 years old sounds very young to medicate. Please go to a neurodevelopmental pediatrician – one that SPECIALIZES so that your child can be properly diagnosed. There are cases where parents have had their kid diagnosed and it turned out to be something else. Make sure you get a second even a third opinion so that there is no doubt that this is what your child has. At 3, my pediatrician told me not to worry that my son was just hyper — not ADHD because at around 2-3 they are in the “terrible two” stage and sometimes it takes a while to grow out of it…..So, my husband and I have waited a long time and went through 3 different school systems but all the results ended up the same. Our son has been CONFIRMED with ADHD – he has been diagnosed by a few doctors over the last few years (from age 6) so that I now know that what I’ve thought he had since he was 3 years old was correct, i just could not “prove” it at the time because at that age, most regular docs don’t label. We’ve also changed pediatricians since then. Bottom line: unless you go to a specialist to confirm and properly diagnose, it might just be hyperactivity because your child is still in that developmental age. That is what I went thru until he was in first grade because once he went from a private school to public school, he could not perform in class and his ADHD was diagnosed at that time through a process called an iep….. Still because we had gone thru some meds that were not good we were reluctant to put him on Intuniv and it was our last resort. Though our child has ADHD is hyper and has ODD, the secondary diagnosis turned out to be because the med that he was taking was making him aggressive (Concerta). Most parents do go through trying to find the “right” medicine for their child but it takes time and then trial and error. Our son recently was moved up from 1 mg to 2 mgs and is now complaining of stomach pain. The other side effect of Intuniv is sleepiness in the afternoon but we give him a nap. As far as Intuniv is concerned, this med out of the others that we’ve tried and failed with due to bad side effects, this one is working. FYI, it does state on the label that after a period of 9 weeks it may no longer work? It’s still working for us. we put our son on 1 mg in November and then 2/1/11, we increased to 2 mgs – I noticed that it has “worn off”. This time around the side effects of sleepiness is less. but now he is complaining of stomach pain. Other than those 2 side effects, he is doing well in school and socially he is thriving… I hope that by telling you my story, it helps you.

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