Non-Stimulant Medications for ADHD

There are two types of medications that aren’t stimulants that can help alleviate symptoms of ADHD but are less likely to cause tics.

Clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay) and guanfacine (Tenex, Intuniv) are called alpha-adrenergic agonists, and these medications were developed to lower high blood pressure. But they are also prescribed for children with ADHD who don’t tolerate stimulants well. These medications can make kids feel tired and you need to check blood pressure and heart rate while taking these medications.

Both clonidine and guanfacine are short-acting medications that require several doses each day, but they come in a longer acting version (Kapvay and Intuniv). They are also sometimes used to treat tics.

Atomoxetine (Strattera) is in a class of drugs called norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Norepinephrine is a natural substance in the brain that is needed to control behavior.

Unlike the stimulants, Atomoxetine can take 4-6 weeks to take effect and has to be taken daily.