Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Guidelines

Updated: Mar 31, 2022
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
  • Print

Guidelines Summary

American Academy of Pediatrics

In 2019, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated guidelines on attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that uphold the central role of medication and behavioral therapy in ADHD treatment. [46] Recommendations include the following:

  • Any child or adolescent age 4 to 18 years who presents with academic or behavioral problems and symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity should be evaluated for ADHD.

  • In evaluating a child or adolescent for ADHD, the primary care clinician (PCC) should screen for comorbid conditions.

  • For preschool-aged children (ages 4 to 6 years) with ADHD, the PCC should prescribe evidence-based parent training in behavior management (PTBM) and/or behavioral classroom interventions as the first line of treatment.

  • If behavioral interventions don't work, methylphenidate may be considered. 

  • For elementary and middle school-aged children (age 6 to 12 years) with ADHD, the PCC should prescribe FDA-approved medications for ADHD, along with PTBM and/or behavioral classroom intervention. 

  • For adolescents (age 12 to 18 years) with ADHD, the PCC should prescribe FDA-approved medications for ADHD with the adolescent’s assent. The PCC is encouraged to prescribe evidence-based training interventions and/or behavioral interventions as well.