Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is almost twice as common among individuals with autism as it is individuals without. Although there are many drugs available to treat the effects of ADHD, there has been trial research from Marcus Autism Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory University School of Medicine demonstrating that the drug guanfacine is safe for individuals with autism, and just as affective as more well-known drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall.
Guanfacine was originally designed to reduce blood pressure in adults, but has been tested and approved for the treatment of ADHD in both adults and children alike. In addition to having largely positive results, this was the largest study conducted on guanfacine in regards to autistic children with ADHD. However, monitoring blood pressure and pulse is recommended after starting on or switching to guanfacine, especially in the early stages of taking the drug.
In a recent Autism-Products.com costumer survey, over 60% that tried guanfacine showed some level of improvement, especially in regards to hyperactivity. 5% of those showing improvement reported “amazing” improvements after taking guanfacine.
Of those who had not tried guanfacine, a surprising 82% had never heard of it as a treatment option, or had never heard of it at all. Given the drug’s high level of success, it’s lack of popularity is rather unusual.
Common side affects were increased tiredness and increased irregularity in sleep schedule.