Summary

  • Common childhood-onset disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity demonstrated across 2 or more settings (such as home and school).
  • Some impairment must be present by 12 years of age and 60% to 70% of patients have persistent functional impairment into adulthood.
  • Diagnosed by clinical history, which should include information from multiple sources, including parents, caregivers, and teachers.
  • Mainstay of treatment is stimulant medication, which can be effective in 85% of patients; nonstimulants are less often effective, but may have other advantages in terms of duration of action or in special populations.
  • Stimulant medications have been associated with cardiovascular side effects. These should be monitored in children with heart conditions.

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