Paediatric anxiety disorders often go untreated and it is estimated that two in five patients do not respond to antidepressants, creating a need for alternative treatment options.
In research published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
(online, 6 February 2017), a team explored the safety and tolerability of extended-release guanfacine, a drug used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in 62 children with anxiety disorders aged 6–17 years, compared with 21 children who were randomly assigned a placebo, over 12 weeks.
The researchers observed an improvement in anxiety symptoms in both groups during the study. There were small decreases in blood pressure and heart rate in those treated with guanfacine; however, the safety profile was consistent with previous reports and no new safety signals were detected.
The authors conclude that the findings from this study support further clinical testing of the drug and other anti-adrenergics in paediatric anxiety in a more adequately powered study.