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Objective: Medications such as clonidine have been shown to facilitate calming, to enhance frustration tolerance, and to reduce aggression in hyperactive children. The use of guanfacine (Tenex(R)), an [alpha]2 noradrenergic agonist similar to clonidine, was studied as an alternative because of its longer excretion half-life, decreased sedative side effects, and more selective binding profile.

Method: Thirteen psychiatric outpatients diagnosed with ADHD were rated at baseline and while taking guanfacine to determine its efficacy as a treatment for ADHD. Comparisons of Conners parent ratings within subject were used to measure behavioral changes in the subjects.

Results: During guanfacine treatment, patients' mean scores improved significantly overall (1.27 off, 0.85 on, t = 2.55, p < .015) and in Conners Hyperactivity (1.63 off, 0.94 on, t = 3.69, p < .01), Inattention (1.92 off, 1.21 on, t = 3.32, p < .01), and Immaturity (1.81 off, 0.92 on, t = 3.77, p < .01) factors.

Conclusions: This preliminary study indicates that guanfacine is a beneficial and useful treatment of ADHD, reducing hyperactive behaviors and enabling greater attentional ability with minimal side effects. We are currently collecting data in a double-blind study measuring guanfacine's efficacy with and in comparison to methylphenidate.

Copyright 1995 (C) American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry