BOSTON -- Primary care physicians should begin evaluating children for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at age 4 and continue through age 18, according to a new clinical guideline from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
An accumulation of evidence in recent years has enabled diagnosis and management of ADHD in a broader pediatric population. Earlier versions of the guidelines covered children ages 6 to 12.
"There was enough evidence that we could feel comfortable about the criteria being appropriate for preschoolers and that the process for making the diagnosis was similar enough to what primary care physicians were doing with the elementary school-age children that it would be appropriate to recommend their diagnosing to four years of age," said Mark Wolraich, MD, of the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, and chair of the writing committee for the updated guideline. A similar accumulation of evidence led to expansion of the age range to 18, he added.
Consistent with the broader age range, the guideline addresses clinical issues specific to preschoolers, adolescents, and teenagers.
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