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New Chewable, Fruit-Flavored ADHD Drugs Generating Controversy

(Tony Webster/Flickr)
(Tony Webster/Flickr)

If your child is taking medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), their doctor may soon offer a new option: fruit-flavored chewables.

The new drug, Adzenys XR-ODT, got FDA approval in January, and went on the market last week. But some psychiatrists are concerned that making amphetamines in a candy-like form will make people more likely to abuse them, and also contribute to what some see as a trend of overmedicating children.

Here & Now’s Robin Young talks with Meghana Keshavan, biotech correspondent at STAT.

Editor’s Note: After this segment aired, we heard from a representative of Neos Therapeutics, manufacturer of ADHD medication Adzenys XR-ODT. A statement from the company is below.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) impacts many types of patients with diverse needs. Neos’ goal in making Adzenys XR-ODT available to physicians to prescribe is to provide an alternative for patients and families that have struggled to find the right treatment for this serious neurobehavioral disorder. Patients in other disease categories have a variety of options at their disposal; patients with ADHD and their physicians should have the same treatment options available to them.  Adzenys XR-ODT (amphetamine) is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of ADHD in patients six years and older and is the first extended-release orally disintegrating tablet (XR-ODT) for the treatment of ADHD. Adzenys XR-ODT is not a chewable medication.

In addition, Neos has done rigorous testing on the packaging for Adzenys XR-ODT to affirm that it meets current federal standards for child resistance under the Poison Prevention Control Act. As with many liquid, chewable or orally disintegrating tablet medications, additional flavors are often used to mask the bitter and unpleasant taste of active ingredients and to increase patient likelihood of staying on treatment under the guidance of their physician.


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