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Updated July 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Child with open medicine bottle.
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Intuniv Basics:

Intuniv is a new non-stimulant treatment for ADHD. It was approved by the FDA in September 2009.

What Intuniv Is Used For:

Intuniv is a once-a-day treatment for children and adolescents who are six to 17 years old with ADHD.

Intuniv Facts:

  • Intuniv is a long acting form of Tenex (guanfacine). Although Tenex is primarily used to treat high blood pressure, it is already used off-label to treat children with ADHD who also have tics, sleep problems, and/or aggression.
  • Intuviv is a pill, but unlike some other ADHD medications, it can not be crushed, chewed or broken and must be swallowed whole.
  • Like Strattera, another non-stimulant for ADHD, Intuniv is not a controlled substance, which can make getting refills easier for parents.

Intuniv Benefits:

Intuniv, unlike other ADHD medications, especially stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, or Vyvanse, does not cause much appetite suppression, so may be a good choice for children who lose a lot of weight when taking a stimulant. Until more is known about Intuniv, another benefit is that there will simply be one more option for treating children with ADHD.

Forms Of Intuniv:

Intuniv is available in four dosage strengths: 1mg 2mg, 3mg, and 4mg.

Most children will start Intuniv at the 1mg dosage, and then increase by 1mg each week until they get to a target dose of 3mg or 4mg. Keep in mind that it may take three or four weeks to see an improvement in your child's ADHD symptoms once he starts to take Intuniv.

Intuniv Side Effects:

Side effects of Intuniv most commonly include somnolence, which can occur in up to 38% of patients, headaches, fatigue, upper abdominal pain, nausea, lethargy, dizziness, irritability, decreased blood pressure, and decreased appetite.

Although somnolence occurs in a large number of children when they start taking Intuniv, it seems to get better as they continue to take it.


  • Intuniv should be used cautiously if your child is at risk for low blood pressure, bradycardia (low heart rate), heart block, or syncope (fainting), and those also taking ketoconazole, rifampin, valprioic acid, antihypertensive drugs, or CNS depressants (sedatives, antipsychotics, etc.).
  • Intuniv should not be taken with a high-fat meal. It can be taken with water, milk, or other liquids.
  • Intuniv should be discontinued slowly, by decreasing or tapering the dose over several weeks, and should not be stopped suddenly.

You May Want to Consider Intuniv for Your Child if:

Intuniv may be an especially good option if your child's current medication simply isn't working well, he hasn't been able to tolerate other stimulants, or if you have been weary of putting your child on a stimulant. As with Tenex, we may also see Intuniv used to treat children with ADHD and tics, sleep problems, and/or aggression, either by itself or with a stimulant.


Guanfacine Extended Release in Children and Adolescents With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Placebo-Controlled Trial. Sallee FR - J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry - February, 2009; 48(2); 155-165.

Intuniv Full Prescribing Information Sheet. Accessed November 2009.

Long-term safety and efficacy of guanfacine extended release in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Sallee FR - J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol - 01-JUN-2009; 19(3): 215-26

Safety and effectiveness of coadministration of guanfacine extended release and psychostimulants in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Spencer TJ - J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol - 01-OCT-2009; 19(5): 501-10

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