Intuniv Review – 14 Essential Things to Know
Intuniv (brand name) is a once-daily, extended-release formulation of guanfacine hydrochloride (HCl). This prescription medication is usually indicated for the treatment of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adolescents and children who are at least six years old, as monotherapy and as adjunctive treatment to stimulant medications.
1) What is Intuniv?
Intuniv (Guanfacine) is a central alpha2A-adrenergic receptor agonist that is thought to address significant areas of impairment and ADHD symptoms such as emotional sensitivity, hyperarousal, rejection sensitivity, and social aggression that are not treated by stimulant medications.
Thus, non-stimulant medications like Intuniv sometimes help patients with ADHD who can’t take or don’t experience benefits from stimulants. The alpha agonists treat the impairments that stimulants do not treat well by lowering the adrenaline side of the nervous system so that its level is the same as a person who does not have ADHD.
2) How Did Sandoz Start?
Guanfacine, sold under the brand names Estulic, Tenex, Afken, and, in the extended-release form, Intuniv, is a substance commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and, in some cases, high blood pressure.
The FDA first approved Guanfacine hydrochloride for treating ADHD in 1986 under the brand name Tenex. In 2010, the substance was approved by the FDA to treat ADHD for patients 6–17 years old.
Five years later, in 2015, the European Medicines Agency approved the use of guanfacine hydrochloride (under the brand name Intuniv) for the treatment of ADD/ADHD. It was added to the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for the treatment of ADD/ADHD in 2018.
Intuniv is made by Sandoz, a division of the Novartis Group and a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars.
Sandoz contact information:
- Phone: +1 609 627 8500 (United States) / +49 8024 476 0 (Internationally)
- Address: 100 College Rd. West, Princeton, NJ 08540, United States
- Website: sandoz.com
3) Ingredients of Intuniv
Intuniv contains one active ingredient: guanfacine hydrochloride.
Other (inactive) ingredients: methacrylic acid copolymer, hypromellose, lactose, crospovidone, povidone, fumaric acid, microcrystalline cellulose, and glyceryl behenate.
4) Does Intuniv Work?
Guanfacine hydrochloride is prescribed alone or with stimulants to treat individuals with ADD/ADHD, and high blood pressure. The substance has also been analyzed as a potential treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While proof of efficacy in adults is insufficient, one clinical trial found good results in children with comorbid ADHD. Regardless of the lack of clinical evidence, guanfacine hydrochloride may still be prescribed in adult PTSD patients who do not respond to SSRIs.
Intuniv (Guanfacine) is usually prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) in children who are at least six years old.
As with most prescription medications, numerous safety and efficacy studies have been conducted on this product. Some of the most relevant clinical studies include:
- Guanfacine hydrochloride for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder 
- A Study to Assess the Safety and Efficacy of Guanfacine Hydrochloride Prolonged Release (SPD503) in Children and Adolescents Aged 6 to 17 Years With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Efficacy and Safety Eval of Guanfacine Hydrochloride in Combination With Psychostimulants in Adults (18-65)
5) Intuniv Benefits & Results
Intuniv (Guanfacine) claimed benefits include the following:
- It’s a non-stimulant prescription medicine;
- It’s not a controlled substance, which can make getting refills easier for parents;
- It’s available in different dosage strengths;
- Unlike other ADD/ADHD medications, it does not cause much appetite suppression.
6) Potential Intuniv Adverse Effects
Common side effects of Intuniv may include:
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Weight gain
Rare but more dangerous side effects may include:
- Slow heartbeat
- Severe dizziness
- Severe mental or mood changes (such as hallucinations, depression, or thoughts of suicide)
- Rash, itching, swelling of the tongue
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe allergic reaction
- Slow heart rate
7) What You Need to Know Before Taking Intuniv
Intuniv (Guanfacine) should be used cautiously if your child is at risk for bradycardia (low heart rate), low blood pressure, syncope (fainting), or heart block. Patients under treatment with ketoconazole, valproic acid, antihypertensive drugs, rifampin, or CNS depressants (i.e., antipsychotics and sedatives) should also avoid taking Intuniv.
Using Intuniv (Guanfacine) with any of the following prescription drugs is not recommended. Your physician may choose not to prescribe you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Strattera (atomoxetine)
- Adderall (amphetamine / dextroamphetamine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Tylenol (acetaminophen)
- Adderall XR (amphetamine / dextroamphetamine)
- Zyrtec (cetirizine)
- Seroquel (quetiapine)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Risperdal (risperidone)
- Ritalin (methylphenidate)
- Singulair (montelukast)
- Claritin (loratadine)
- Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
- Focalin XR (dexmethylphenidate)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Lamictal (lamotrigine)
- Abilify (aripiprazole)
- Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)
- Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
- Concerta (methylphenidate)
8) Where to Buy Intuniv?
As a prescription medication, Intuniv is available for purchase in most drugstores across the United States. Some online pharmacies (i.e., PharmStore, DrugSmart, PharmaLive, PlanetDrugDirect) may also offer free shipping worldwide.
9) Intuniv Price
Prices below are for cash paying buyers only and are not accurate with insurance plans.
The cost for Intuniv oral, extended-release, 1 mg tablet could go up to $1,024 for a supply of 100 tablets ($3.99 – $10.24 per pill or unit), depending on the pharmacy.
A generic version of Intuniv is also available at more affordable prices. However, some users have reported worse results with the generic version.
10) Other Similar Products
Medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD) has progressed by leaps and bounds over the last few decades.
This means that adults and parents, in general, have a lot more alternatives than ever when it comes to treatments for ADD/ADHD. However, it also means that the overabundance of medication choices can be time-consuming, bewildering, and overwhelming, to sort through when you’re trying to design your ideal treatment plan.
However, despite many prescriptions claiming to help relieve ADD/ADHD symptoms, there are only two non-stimulant drugs approved by the FDA to treat ADD/ADHD in adults.
Strattera (generic: Atomoxetine Hydrochloride) is an alternative to the stimulant ADHD medications most commonly prescribed to treat symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults. It is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) drug. Strattera is not classified as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Kapvay (generic: Clonidine Hydrochloride) is an alpha agonist medication primarily used to treat hypertension. It may also lessen the hyperactivity associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 6-12, adolescents, and adults. For better results, Kapvay is sometimes prescribed in association with more potent stimulant medications.
Wellbutrin is another potential alternative to Intuniv. Wellbutrin (generic: Bupropion HCL) is an antidepressant medication primarily used to treat depression, major depressive disorder, and seasonal affective disorder in adults. Wellbutrin has been neither studied nor approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Physicians sometimes prescribe it “off-label” to treat symptoms. However, the clinical evidence for bupropion for ADHD “far weaker” than for FDA-approved treatments, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
11) Suggested Use
Intuniv should be taken as a tablet by mouth. Unlike other similar prescriptions, the tablets shouldn’t be broken, chewed, or crushed before swallowing. The typical starting dose for a child is 1 milligram (mg) once per day.
12) Of the Same Product Line
Intuniv is available as 1 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg, and 4 mg extended-release tablets.
13) What Users Are Saying
"I have a 9 yr old HF autistic that is mixed with some ADD and ODD. He used to have massive meltdowns at school to the point he was harming himself and whoever was in the way. " [Read full review]
"My son has anxiety and mild ADHD. He had about three months on Ritalin and Concerta, and after coming off it, I know he is far worse than he was before. Intuniv is a better option for him and helps him when struggling to focus at school. He is also on Lexapro for anxiety. " [Read full review]
"So far, so good. My 14 year old just started this drug. He has ADD and has had significant setbacks in life because of it." [Read full review]
Because Intuniv is one of the few non-stimulant medications for ADD/ADHD, it may be a particularly good alternative if your child hasn’t been able to tolerate other stimulants because of side effects, he’s current prescription simply isn’t working well, or if you have been wary of putting your child on a stimulant.
As with other similar drugs (i.e., Tenex), we may also see Intuniv used to treat children with sleep problems, ADD/ADHD and tics, or aggression, either by itself or with a stimulant.
Customers Questions and Answers with Intuniv
Intuniv contains one active ingredient in the form of guanfacine hydrochloride.
Intuniv (generic: Guanfacine) is a central alpha2A-adrenergic receptor agonist that is thought to address significant areas of impairment and ADHD symptoms such as emotional sensitivity, hyperarousal, rejection sensitivity, and social aggression that are not treated by stimulant medications.
Intuniv can cause mild, moderate, and severe side effects, including irritability, constipation, drowsiness, tiredness, dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, stomach pain, weight gain, headache, slow heartbeat, severe dizziness, severe mental or mood changes, fainting, difficulty breathing, severe allergic reaction, and slow heart rate.
As a prescription drug, Intuniv (Guanfacine) is available for buying in most drugstores across the United States. Some online drugstores may also offer free shipping worldwide for those ordering from outside the United States.
The cost for Intuniv oral, extended-release, 1 mg tablet could go up to $1,024 for a supply of 100 tablets ($3.99 - $10.24 per pill or unit), depending on the pharmacy you visit.
There are a few benefits of using Intuniv over other similar prescription medications. The non-stimulant aspect of this drug is one of its significant benefits. Furthermore, Intuniv is not a controlled substance, which can make getting refills easier for parents.
Intuniv was not formulated as a brain-support supplement to enhance brain functions. Guanfacine is a central alpha2A-adrenergic receptor agonist that is thought to address significant areas of impairment and ADHD symptoms.
As with all prescription medication, we advise caution when taking Intuniv with other prescription medication or over-the-counter dietary supplements. Drugs that may interact with Intuniv include Strattera, Adderall, Trazodone, Zoloft, Tylenol, Adderall XR, Risperidone, Zyrtec, Seroquel, Prozac, Risperdal, Ritalin, Singulair, Claritin, Focalin, Clonidine, Focalin XR, Ibuprofen, Melatonin, Lexapro, Lamictal, Abilify, Vyvanse, Benadryl, and Concerta.
Please note that many other prescription medications may affect the way Intuniv works. The drug could also affect other medicines. It's imperative to let your physician know about everything you are taking before starting a treatment with this prescription drug. Potential dangerous interactions include any over-the-counter (OTC) medications, herbs, dietary supplements, and illegal drugs.
Yes, Intuniv (Guanfacine) can be prescribed to children.
Intuniv contains guanfacine hydrochloride, a substance that has been studied across multiple clinical trials and shown to cause mild, moderate, and, in rare cases, severe adverse effects in some patients.
You should not be taking Intuniv unless it was prescribed to you by a medical doctor.
Intuniv is a US FDA pregnancy category B prescription drug. That means that animal reproduction studies have failed to show a clear risk to the fetus, and there are no well-controlled, proper studies in pregnant women. However, we advise caution when taking Intuniv while pregnant or nursing. Please consult with your medical doctor before starting a treatment with this medicine or any other prescription drug.
Intuniv should be taken as a tablet by mouth. Unlike with other similar prescriptions, the tablets shouldn't be broken, chewed, or crushed before swallowing. The typical starting dose for a child is 1 milligram (mg) once per day.
You can contact the Sandoz customer support department by phone at +1 609 627 8500 (United States) or +49 8024 476 0 (Internationally), or by mail at 100 College Rd. West, Princeton, NJ 08540, United States.
As Intuniv is a prescription medication, please discuss any possible returns or refunds with the doctor who prescribed it.
Most complaints gravitate around Intuniv's side effects, the many drug negative interactions, and the lack of results in some cases.
Intuniv's reviews are mostly neutral. On drugs.com (the leading authority for prescription drugs information), this prescription medicine has an average rating of 6.3 out of 10 (ADHD).
For the United States market, Intuniv is made by Sandoz.
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