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Complementary and alternative therapies for children and adolescents with ADHD

Bader, Amandaa; Adesman, Andrewb

doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e32835a1a5f
OFFICE PEDIATRICS: Edited by Henry H. Bernstein

Purpose of review To provide a comprehensive review of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments for children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Recent findings Many parents of children with ADHD are reluctant to pursue medication options and unable to access behavioral counseling. CAM therapies are often appealing to families and studies show that a large percentage of children with ADHD are treated with one or more CAM therapy. Most research studies evaluating CAM therapies are methodologically flawed, and often times there are inconsistencies across either study design or results. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend any CAM therapies for ADHD, essential fatty acid supplementation is likely well tolerated and modestly effective.

Summary Most complementary and alternative treatments do not have adequate research to recommend their use in children with ADHD. Physicians should be aware of the many CAM treatment options and the research surrounding them in order to provide their patients with the most current and accurate information available.

aUniversity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

bDevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, New Hyde Park, New York, USA

Correspondence to Andrew Adesman, MD, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, 1983 Marcus Avenue, Suite 1983, Lake Success, NY 11042, USA. Tel: +1 516 802 6112; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.