Children's Health

'Marketplace' Report: ADHD Skin Patch

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the first skin patch to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD. Alex Chadwick talks to Janet Babin of Marketplace about the business prospects for the new drug.


Back now with DAY TO DAY.

Many children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it's known as ADHD, many of them need medication. Now, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a new skin patch for kids. Should be available in the next couple of months. Marketplace's Janet Babin is with us. Hi, Janet, and what company makes this patch and what's in it?

Ms. JANET BABIN (Marketplace): Hi, Alex. So the patch is made by Noven Pharmaceuticals based in Miami, and it was co-developed, actually, with a UK company called Shire Pharmaceuticals Group. The patch is called Daytrana, and it's approved for kids between 6 and 12. Now, it contains a stimulant called methylphenidate, and that is the same stimulant that's in Ritalin and other popular treatments for this condition.

The companies have been trying to get the patch approved for a few years. Initially, they made a 12-hour patch, but the FDA rejected it, had a few issues with it and recommended the company test a 9-hour version, which they did, and it got approved.

CHADWICK: And what is the benefit of using a patch for ADHD kids?

Ms. BABIN: Well, I don't know if you have kids, Alex, but some just dread taking pills. I mean they hate it. They can't swallow them, it hurts, so this patch could alleviate that problem. And also, I spoke with Dr. Robert Bashford at UNC Hospitals. As a child psychiatrist, he administers the pill form of this drug and says he'll likely prescribe the patch in some cases. He says because it delivers medicine for nine hours, it's a good alternative for kids who might be sensitive about their condition; you know, they might not necessarily want everyone at school knowing they take medicine.

Dr. ROBERT BASHFORD (UNC Hospitals): You got flexibility in that a child can put a patch on before they go to school and not have to take a pill at school because these kids don't like to go to the principal's office to get a pill. It's stigmatizing and just the inconvenience.

Ms. BABIN: And the big benefit, too, is that if a child were to have an adverse reaction, it could just be pulled off.

CHADWICK: Well, you know, they can be pulled off. What about kids just pulling these things off just because they don't want them on anymore?

Ms. BABIN: Yeah, you would think, right? So I spoke to Dr. Scott Collins about that with Duke University Medical Center. His group led some of the clinical trials for the patch.

Dr. SCOTT COLLINS (Duke University Medical Center): Kids probably would have a tendency, especially these kinds of kids, to tear things off their bodies, but in the study that we did and in some of the other studies, I don't know that that's been much of a problem.

Ms. BABIN: The one downside, Alex, is that about a third of the kids can't tolerate the patches because it causes skin irritation.

Coming up later today on Marketplace, we inject a little humor into the immigration debate.

CHADWICK: Janet Babin of Public Radio's daily business show, Marketplace. Thank you, Janet. And Marketplace is produced by American Public Media.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from