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Guanfacine (Intuniv) for ADHD: How Does It Help?

Intuniv for ADHD in Adults

Guanfacine (Intuniv) for ADHD: How Does It Help?

Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology


The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.

A mix of stimulant drugs and behavioral therapy is frequently used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But occasionally, medical professionals also recommend non-stimulant drugs like Intuniv for ADHD.

Intuniv (generic name Genafacine) is an FDA-approved [1*] non-stimulant medication for ADHD in children and adolescents. It can also be prescribed off-label for adults, even though it is not FDA-approved for this group of patients.

Intuniv can be used along with stimulants, however, people who do not benefit from stimulant drugs or cannot tolerate them can use Intuniv alone as a monotherapy.

Learn about the advantages of taking Intuniv for ADHD, its side effects, dosage, and other information below.

Get the right prescription for your ADHD symptoms from experts. We offer a customized treatment plan for each patient.

What Is Intuniv Medication?

Guanfacine is approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children aged 6-12 and adolescents up to 17 years. However, it is frequently prescribed off-label for use by all ages, including adults. It is not a controlled substance and has lower risks of abuse or dependence.

Intuniv is a type of medication that acts on alpha-2A adrenergic receptors. It enhances blood flow, decreases heart rate and blood pressure, and relaxes the body’s blood vessels. Additionally, guanfacine is utilized off-label to treat PTSD [2*] , anxiety disorders [3*] , and tic disorders [4*] . Doctors also prescribe it by its brand name Tenex [5*] to hypertensive patients [6*] to decrease blood pressure.

How Does Intuniv Help With ADHD?

Unlike stimulants like Adderall, Intuniv has a different effect on the brain. It acts on the prefrontal cortex, a brain area that regulates attention span and impulsivity, in addition to decreasing blood pressure. This medicine also treats social aggression, emotional sensitivity, hyperarousal, and rejection sensitivity symptoms of ADHD. By decreasing the adrenaline levels to the same level as someone without ADHD, the alpha-agonist Intruniv cures the impairments that stimulants do not adequately treat.

It was first approved for the treatment of ADHD in adults in Japan in June 2019 [7*] . According to this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the extended-release tablets of Gunafacine were associated with significant improvement in adult ADHD symptoms without any major safety concerns.

Adult ADHD can be managed through therapy and medicine. Get online consultation from our experts.

Intuniv Dosage

The dosage of this medication varies depending on the patient. Usually, it starts with 1 mg daily and slowly increases to 3 mg if needed. The recommended dose is usually not more than 4-5 mg. These are only the typical dosages, so do not alter your dose if it differs from the one recommended by your doctor.

Intuniv Side Effects

Intuniv may cause side effects, just like all other drugs. The most typical ones are as follows:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Headache

Other serious Intuniv side effects may include the following:

  • Extreme dizziness
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Changes in mood (such as depression, suicidal thoughts, or hallucinations)
  • Fainting

For the best treatment, speak with a medical expert. Click for more details, including what to do if you experience any side effects.

Guanfacine withdrawal symptoms

Guanfacine Withdrawal Symptoms

Intuniv withdrawal symptoms can include tremors, agitation, anxiety, and headaches. When stopping the drug abruptly, your blood pressure may also rise quickly. So, keep in touch with your doctor and, if required, seek medical treatment.

Precautions for Use

Your doctor will be the best person to decide which drug is best for you. Consider these precautions for this drug, though:

  • If you have ever experienced an unusual or allergic reaction to this medication or any other medications, or if you have any other allergies, let your doctor know.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking any additional medications to avoid dangerous drug interactions. Abametapir, Fedratinib, Netupitant, and Fosetupitant are among the medications that may interact with Intuniv.
  • The use of this medication could be impacted by the existence of additional health issues. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems.
  • Only use this medication as prescribed by your doctor. Never take it in larger amounts, more frequently, or for a longer period of time than recommended by your doctor.
  • Inform your doctor if you are a breastfeeding mother or expecting a child.

What Is the Best Medication to Treat ADHD in Adults?

In terms of ADHD medications, there are several options available. Doctors often prescribe Intuniv for ADHD if the stimulants aren’t working for the patient. However, there are other commonly used drugs too, including amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall), methylphenidate (Ritalin), lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), dexamfetamine (Dexedrine), and atomoxetine (Strattera).

Speak with medical professionals at MEDvidi if you’re unsure of the best medication for you. We have qualified mental health specialists on staff who can assist with integrative ADHD therapy. Make a consultation appointment right away to get thorough assistance in managing your symptoms.


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  2. An Open-Label Study of Guanfacine Extended Release for Traumatic Stress Related Symptoms in Children and Adolescent. (2013)
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  3. Extended Release Guanfacine in Pediatric Anxiety Disorders: A Pilot, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. (2017)
    Source link
  4. A Placebo-Controlled Study of Guanfacine in the Treatment of Children With Tic Disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (2001)
    Source link
  5. Tenex
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  6. Guanfacine hydrochloride: a centrally acting antihypertensive agent. (1988)
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  7. Safety and efficacy of guanfacine extended-release in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: an open-label, long-term, phase 3 extension study. (2020)
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology
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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

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This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.