New Liquid Medication available for ADHD Treatment


New Liquid Medication available for ADHD Treatment

Many parents have asked countless times if their child’s ADHD medications came in liquid or chewable form. Usually, they asked because their kids had a problem swallowing the pills or capsules because they were either too big or tasted terrible.

Now, the long awaited solution to one of the few problems of stimulant-type ADHD drug dosing-especially in younger children with ADHD is finally here…

Yesterday, Pfizer pharmaceutical announced it was releasing an extended-release methylphenidate in oral suspension for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. “Quillivant XR”, this first-ever liquid alternative to ADHD pills will be available in January 2013.

Apparently, Quillivant has the very same effects and side-effects as pill or capsule form methylphenidate and a child who is currently being treated for ADHD using this drug would probably experience no changes with regard to changing from the pill to liquid formulation.

I think the biggest concerns a parent and physician should have about using any liquid-suspension drug are:

  • Since the drug comes in powder form and must be mixed with sterile water at the pharmacy, it is essential that it be mixed properly to avoid over-dosage or under-dosing.
  • Whoever measures the medication must do so carefully before giving the ADHD drug to a child. In the case of liquid medications, one teaspoon means 5 ccs. If a child accidentally gets one and one-fourth teaspoons, that amount is 6.5 ccs and could cause significant side-effects.
  • We probably won’t know the realities of how taking this drug with food or liquid will work for at least a year…so watch closely for side-effects and treatment failure.

We have long needed a liquid extended release ADHD drug and now it appears we finally have one in the form of a suspension.  Should you and your doctor decide to start your ADHD child on Quillivant, watch carefully for worsening of behavior, mood, and signs of depression or anxiety and if noticed, call your doctor right away.

As more information on the use and effects of liquid methylphenidate becomes available, I’ll pass it on.

Frank Barnhill, MD


Here are a few links to articles about Quillivant:

FDA OKs Extended Release Liquid ADHD Medication, Quillivant

Drug information on line 

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