Families of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) want to have a new, non-drug, treatment available to manage the condition
Over the weekend, the Food and Drug Administration announced they have granted clearance of NeuroSigma's Monarch external Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation (eTNS) System for Children with ADHD. (The FDA does not generally approve medical devices. The treatment will be intended for all those who are not currently taking any other prescription drugs for their ADHD. But it also wants to be available only via prescription.
"This new device offers a safe, non-drug option for treatment of ADHD in pediatric patients through the use of mild nerve stimulation, a first of its kind," Carlos Peña, Director of the Division of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement.
ADHD in both children and adults, a complex disorder that involves symptoms like a constant inability to pay attention, impulsiveness, trouble sleeping, and mood swings. They range from behavioral therapy to stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin to the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) atomoxetine. These treatments all work to an extent, especially stimulants, that they're better than a placebo overall. But not everyone benefits from them.
For instance, about 20 to 25 percent of children with ADHD do not respond to stimulants, according to a 2016 review. For these cases, atomoxetine is usually effective, but it has its own side-effects, including short-term suicide ideation.
Nerve stimulation has emerged in recent years as another way to manage behavioral and neurological conditions like depression, epilepsy, and other causes of addiction and substance abuse , and anxiety. The erratic brain activity associated with it is in the process of being in a state of disarray a specific condition.
In the case of the monarch eTNS system, the stimulation (which feels like a tingling sensation on the skin) is sent from a small smartphone-sized device to a device that is attached to a forehead right above the eyebrows. The cerebral cortex, which helps to regulate our emotions, behavior, and ability to focus.
ADHD, which was published earlier this January, is a double-blinded, randomized and controlled trial of 62 children with moderate to severe ADHD. Those who have been given the diagnosis of a non-functioning device have been identified as having been diagnosed with the disease.
According to the study's authors, the degree any non-stimulant treatment, which tends to be less effective than stimulants. But one real advantage the monarch seems to have over stimulants is the lack of any serious health risks. Side effects did include drowsiness, increased appetite, trouble sleeping, teeth clenching, headaches, and fatigue.
Safe as the device is intended to be used with the supervision of a caretaker. The treatment thus takes about four weeks before symptoms reliably improve.
Colin Kealey, Vice President of Advanced Development & Medical Affairs at NeuroSigma, told Gizmodo via email that there is no specific date as of yet for the future Monarch's launch in the US, though they do hope to have it available soon.
"We expect the price of the monarch eTNS system to be in-line with the current price of brand name ADHD medications," he added.
The system is already approved for the treatment of ADHD, epilepsy, and depression in the
"As a general rule we do not comment on specific plans, but NeuroSigma may consider running additional clinical trials to support submissions to the FDA for label expansion and to request clearance for other indications, "Kealey said.