Qelbree® (Viloxazine) - New nonstimulant treatment for ADHD
November 5, 2021 - A new drug for the treatment of ADHD is now available. Qelbree® (viloxazine) is a nonstimulant that works by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine; this mechanism of action is the same as Strattera®. It is approved for ADHD in children 6 - 17 years old. The main side effects are somnolence, headache, decreased appetite, and fatigue. Similar to Strattera®, it can also raise blood pressure and heart rate, so monitoring these parameters is recommended during therapy.
There are four classes of drugs that are approved to treat ADHD: amphetamines (8 drugs), methylphenidate (12 drugs), alpha-2 agonists (2 drugs), and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (2 drugs). The antidepressant bupropion has also been found to be beneficial in a handful of small studies.
The diagnosis and treatment of ADHD have risen sharply in recent years, particularly among adults. This has raised concerns about the potential for stimulant abuse and dependence. Even though nonstimulant medications have proven effective in placebo-controlled trials, current guidelines from the AAP and NICE recommend stimulants as first-line therapy. Unfortunately, there are few well-done head-to-head trials comparing stimulants to nonstimulants, so it is difficult to know how they measure up.