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July 5, 2009 at 12:21 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

What Is the ADHD Skin Patch?

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

The ADHD patch has been advertised as a solution for kids with ADHD who can't or won't swallow pills. It is supposed to be the next step in ADHD treatment for children, but is the ADHD patch safe for everyone? What are the dangers of the ADHD skin patch?

What Is It?

Daytrana is a new prescription drug that was developed to treat ADHD. It delivers methylphenidate (the same drug found in Concerta and Ritalin) to the user through the skin instead of orally. Daytrana users attach a small patch (about half the size of a credit card) to their skin and wear it for nine hours, although doctors may prescribe a longer or shorter amount of time. The patch is usually worn on the hip, alternating between hips each day. It should stay on when you shower or go swimming. If it falls off, you may need to put on a new patch.

What Does It Do?

The ADHD patch stimulates the central nervous system to decrease restlessness and increase attention in people with ADHD. It is commonly used as part of a treatment package that includes social education and psychological treatment. The ADHD patch is an alternative for children who can't or won't swallow pills. It gives parents more control over the length of the dose than orally-ingested medication.

Children using the patch must wear it for two hours before feeling its affects. After the patch is removed, it takes three hours for the affects to wear off. Half the children in the clinical trials experienced skin allergies when wearing the patch. They also experienced greater instances of insomnia and weight loss than children using pill forms of methylphenidate.

FDA Rejection

The ADHD patch was originally rejected by the FDA over concerns about side effects, such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Tics
  • Insomnia

The makers of the ADHD patch, Noven Pharmaceuticals and Shire Pharmaceuticals, claimed to have fixed the problem by changing the dose from 12 hours to nine hours. In 2005, the FDA safety officials cleared the patch for use, but some officials still expressed concern.

Allergic Reactions

Most of the side affects associated with the ADHD patch are similar to those associated with other amphetamine drugs prescribed for ADHD. However, the patch has one unique and unusual side effect: 1 in 270 children in clinical trials developed an allergic reaction so severe that they were unable to use any form of methylphenidate, the main drug prescribed for treatment of ADHD. Allergies to methylphenidate could severely limit the treatment options for some children with ADHD.

Other Side Effects

  • Blistering
  • Sleeplessness
  • Swelling where patch applied
  • Nervousness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Flushed skin
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Fear
  • Dizziness


Photo Credit: Viewmaker

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