What Meds

Psychiatric Medications


Guanfacine
Brand Name: Tenex, Intuniv (extended release)

Overview
Tenex is the brand name for Guanfacine, an antihypertensive medication. Guanfacine is in a class of drugs called alpha2-adrenergic agonists. It is usually used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) but is also sometimes used in the treatment of ADHD, as an alternative to stimulant medications. When used for this purpose, it seems to decrease hyperactivity, but it does not usually increase attention span. This drug may be especially useful in children who have both ADHD and conduct disorder.

Why is this drug prescribed?
Tenex is FDA-labeled in adults and children ages 12 years and older for treatment of hypertension.

Tenex is also used to treat:

How much of this drug is typically used?
Tablet: 1 mg, 2 mg

Warnings
The safety and effectiveness of Tenex has not been well studied in children under 12 years old, and it is not FDA approved for used below this age.

Tenex is not likely to cause dependence, but suddenly discontinuing Tenex may cause withdrawal symptoms. Doses should be gradually tapered when therapy is discontinued.

Tenex may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Patients should not drive or operate heavy machinery until they know that Tenex does not interfere with the ability to safely engage in such activities.

For Pregnant or Nursing Mothers: In animal studies, Tenex did not cause birth defects in rats or rabbits. Tenex is unlikely to harm the fetus, but it should only be used during pregnancy if it is clearly needed. It is not known whether Tenex passes into breast milk, although it has been found in animal milk. Tenex is not recommended for breast-feeding mothers.

Contraindications
Tenex should Not be used for people with an allergy or sensitivity to this medication.

Precautions
Tenex may be used with caution in individuals with the following conditions:

Adverse Reactions
Tenex may cause the following reactions:

Rarely:

Interactions with Drugs and Other Substances
Drugs or substances that may interact with Tenex include:

Research Studies and Use in Child Psychiatry
Although this medication was developed to treat high blood pressure, small placebo-controlled trials support the use of guanfacine for the treatment of ADHD, and thus is often used third-line to treat ADHD. There is more limited research on the use of guanfacine in treating hyperactivity occurring in children diagnosed with PDD. Recently, guanfacine extended release (GXR), a once-daily formulation has been manufactured and studied in phase III clinical trials. Based on preliminary scientific presentations, it also appears to be efficacious in improving ADHD in children.

This medication has shown some evidence that favors usage for Tourette’s syndrome in children and  heroin/opiate withdrawal in adults.

Sources

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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