An open trial of guanfacine in the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1995 Jan;34(1):50-4. doi: 10.1097/00004583-199501000-00013.


Objective: Medications such as clonidine have been shown to facilitate calming, to enhance frustration tolerance, and to reduce aggression in hyperactive children. The use of guanfacine (Tenex), an alpha 2 noradrenergic agonist similar to clonidine, was studied as an alternative because of its longer excretion half-life, decreased sedative side effects, and more selective binding profile.

Method: Thirteen psychiatric outpatients diagnosed with ADHD were rated at baseline and while taking guanfacine to determine its efficacy as a treatment for ADHD. Comparisons of Conners parent ratings within subject were used to measure behavioral changes in the subjects.

Results: During guanfacine treatment, patients' mean scores improved significantly overall (1.27 off, 0.85 on, t = 2.55, p < .015) and in Conners Hyperactivity (1.63 off, 0.94 on, t = 3.69, p < .01), Inattention (1.92 off, 1.21 on, t = 3.32, p < .01), and Immaturity (1.81 off, 0.92 on, t = 3.77, p < .01) factors.

Conclusions: This preliminary study indicates that guanfacine is a beneficial and useful treatment of ADHD, reducing hyperactive behaviors and enabling greater attentional ability with minimal side effects. We are currently collecting data in a double-blind study measuring guanfacine's efficacy with and in comparison to methylphenidate.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Guanfacine / administration & dosage
  • Guanfacine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Guanfacine