Special to CNN.com
What happened? Parents of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) now have an alternative to certain oral medications.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first skin patch to treat ADHD in children. The patch, sold under the brand name Daytrana, contains methylphenidate — the same stimulant in the popular ADHD medications Ritalin and Concerta.
Daytrana is intended for children ages 6 to 12 who have trouble taking oral ADHD medications. Although the patch is designed to be worn for nine hours at a time, it can be removed if it irritates the skin or prescribed for shorter periods of time. As with other forms of methylphenidate, other side effects may include insomnia, weight loss, nausea and vomiting.
Researchers have not evaluated the effectiveness of the patch compared with oral ADHD medications. The FDA continues to debate whether all ADHD medications should carry stronger warnings about rare — but potentially serious — cardiovascular events and psychiatric problems.
What does this mean to you? If your child needs medication as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for ADHD, the patch may provide an alternative to oral ADHD medications. Ask your child's doctor about the benefits and risks.