ADHD Medication and Treatment Reviews
Return to guanfacine Overview


Guanfacine HCL is a non-stimulant medication used to treat ADHD symptoms in patients 6 to 17 years of age. Brand Name: Intuniv

19 Comments & Reviews: guanfacine

  1. My 15 year old son struggles with ADHD and generalized anxiety major depression disorder. Although with some good articles on this site, we are wondering if a lot of the anxiety and depression are more related to rejection sensitivity from his ADHD.

    He really struggles with emotional regulation (what I have bene calling “emotional hyperactivity” to differentiate it from “mental hyperactivity” or “physical hyperactivity”). We tried guanfacine… it really helped him with his emotions. It really was like “putting on emotional armor” for him… he even was ready to deal with his school refusal and consider going back to schoo!.

    Unfortunately, after a couple of days, he started getting auditory hallucinations. Then he started getting visual hallucinations, minor at first, but a bit scary and only in his bedroom. Then it became very bad visual hallucinations, seeing bad people in the house, talking to him, telling him horrible things. And these hallucinations would happen within 1 hour after taking guanfacine.

    Needless to say, we stopped the medication. His doctors are a bit perplexed, because guanfacine “does not have a pathway” to cause hallucinations. So it must have been an interaction with another drug, but I can not find any report of severe hallucination reactions with other drugs like Concerta, or Ritalin, or anything else. Would love to know what is driving those hallucinations, because this drug really made a difference in his emotions, which then allowed him to better deal with his other ADHD symptoms/issues/disabilities.

  2. My 9 yo son started guanfacine over the summer. He is ADHD combination type, and we were looking for something to address impulsive behavior before heading back to school in-person. We also didn’t want a stimulant, since he has anxiety as a co-morbidity, and stimulants tend to make anxiety worse.

    Taken just before bedtime, Guanfacine, has helped him in the following ways: goes to bed on-time/sleepy at bedtime, decreased impulsive/”hands-on” behavior with classmates, fewer emotional outbursts, and better ability to self-regulate.

    He is taking the medication in combination with weekly therapy and group social skills therapy, and the combination is what’s working. The medication slows down his impulsivity enough to allow him to think through decisions, and the therapy gives him the tools to make better decisions.

    This drug isn’t for all kids, but it’s working for him. I would suggest give it only at night, and it will only help with the impulsivity — not focus.

  3. As a 40 year old adult this medication was my last resort and sadly did not work for me. I started at 1mg for a week then progressed to 2mg the following week. Some improvement was noticed by my other half but nothing from my point of view.on my third week I went on 3mg and after a few days I noticed dizziness, nausea and feeling faint after getting up and walking about for a short time. My energy levels dropped and I needed 1 to 2 naps a day. After checking my bp and heart rate they were much lower than normal. My nurse advised dropping down to 2mg for 5 days to see if it improved. Well sadly it has not. So down to 1mg and see where we are. I don’t recommend this medication for adults at all. The drowsiness and feeling faint is horrible and dangerous.

  4. After years of some success for my son with Autism and severe ADHD, with supplements, therapies, and various supports, preteen years prompted us to look for something more effective, in helping his outbursts, frustration and aggression. His pediatrician recommended guanfacine, and with hesitation, and extensive research (as usual for his needs and approaches to them), we had him try the lowest dosage. WOW. What a difference the SAME day! It has been about a year, and he is able to be HIM, with greater focus, taking in ONE stimuli at a time, and ENJOYING life even more so, without hardly any outbursts. Each child and individual is different, so I share this as one story of success, although I’ve read many more. It is not a stimulant, and is not a controlled substance, so not addictive. We still stick to the other components that have helped him, such as removing dairy…which does still affect his speech when he has ANY! He goes from being able to form sentences, to almost completely nonverbal!! I suggest trying this as well, for any parents still looking for an approach that may help. Again, each person is different. Wishing you each, all the best <3

  5. P.S. Reading about autism and Montessori may help you in your journey with your son. Doing so has certainly helped me–with all five of my children!

  6. This is in response to Youseph’s questions, in case he happens to see it. I have a 10yro with autism and ADHD. He’s higher functioning and severely ADHD. I struggled with the decision to medicate him, but when we put him on one medication, his attention went from 35% to 95%. We’ve since realized he has tourette’s, though, so we’re in the middle of changing his medication to reduce the tics he has from it. I highly recommend at least trying medications. If they work, they’re amazing. If they don’t work, well, at least you tried.

    Regarding your son going crazy after watching videos all day long, that’s actually very normal for most kids–especially ones with autism or ADHD. They don’t like being interrupted, and they have lots of pent up energy from staring at the screen all day instead of being active, learning and doing things with their bodies. If your child is higher functioning, don’t give him the device at all and get him active doing other things, like learning how to care for himself and the house, the yard, going to parks, into nature, etc. If you want him using a device to give you a break, limit his use to 25-30min periods of time. Make sure he knows first that this change will be happening and that if he stays calm when his time is over, he’ll get to use it again in a certain amount of time. Expect the change to take a while if he’s really been spending days staring at a screen. Give him useful, enjoyable things to do. If he rocks often, give him a rocking chair or a swing to swing in.

    If he’s lower functioning, you’ll need more professional support to get him off the device, like occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, and sensory processing integration therapy (often included with OT but not always) to help him develop basic, everyday skills. If he’s low functioning, he should be receiving several hours of therapy each week if not each day. Even higher functioning children often need weekly therapy sessions. Ask his doctor for a referral if needed. It’s essential that kids are busy learning as much as we can help them learn about how to care for themselves, interact well with their family and community, and learn to help out with every day tasks. Even a child who isn’t talking at 4 may end up talking by 7. You just never know what a child can accomplish until you work with them the right way and for long enough.

    God Bless,

  7. Hi everyone, can anyone help me? I have a 7 year old son who has ADAD,and Autism. Me and my wife are against giving him meds but his behavior is getting worse. His doctor just prescribed Guanfacine, half tab in the morning and half a night. I would like a perspective and advise from anyone here since you all went thru what I’m currently going thru.

    My other problem is he stays from morning until night rocking back and fourth watching youtube of kids playing vedio game. I can’t get him off of it without going bizzerk. How do I fix that issuie.

    I will request a MRI on his brain.

    Thank You All
    God Bless


  8. just read the comment about the MRI. My MIL as been trying to get us to do one! even if we pay out of pocket! i have been calling and calling! thank you for that comment. I do think it is something every parent should do. I don’t understand why our children have to try a million medicines without having any more medical testing! its quite sad they want to give our kids these medicines with a million side effects and try so many but will not give an MRI!!!!

  9. My comment to anyone with child is too and I mean demand an MRI of the brain. I have been through all of what I have read this far in the comments made. I asked for four years for that my son to recieve an MRI. I was declined on each attempt tried. Medications being several, were not the way. Years later after I finally demanded one. The results were a tumor pressing on certain parts of his brain. It was night and day. The hyper-activity the so called ADHD, ended. Please please please demand one it may not even be that your child have a tumor of his or her brain, but I have at least put or if you have had thought or if even those of you who have already suggested to their doctor; I am strongly suggesting that you persue it full fledged and do not take NO or not enough probable cause because the doctor is not the boss you are so take that roll and stand over it and protect. Amen Jesus loves us all. Read your bible it tells us so.

  10. 6yr old son was prescribed 1mg (.5mg in AM, .5 in PM) for ADHD. He was a little drowsy at first but it wore off, week 2 we thought it was a miracle drug – he was less impulsive, able to sit and play independently, getting good reports from school, less hyperactive, but still himself. Unfortunately by week 3 all the positive effects had worn off and we were right back to baseline. Doctor had us increase to 2mg (1 morning, 1 night) and it was a nightmare. Total zombie, wouldn’t play at all just sat and stared, sad and tearful, looked ill, complained of chest and tummy pains, complete insomniac, developed more anxiety, these effects never wore off while on the med and after a few more weeks of trying, including going back down to 1mg for awhile with no positive results, we determined this just isn’t the right med for him.

  11. My 4 y/o has been on yhis med for 1 month. Started on 3/4 of the pill but now i am on the entire pill (1mg). I give my son the pill at 5am so it can go into effect by 7:30 am when he starts school. Yes, he was a bit groggy initially; however, it now appears he is groeing out of the 1mg dose. This med has DEFENITELY helped with his outbursts and to get him to his baseline. I am about to do the Genomind (genetic testing) to help me figure out what meds are most compatible with my childs DNA to avoid the long trial/error process.

  12. We started with a 1 mg dose in the morning and then upped it to 2 mg. When we changed to 2 mg, we noted that our 7-year-old was EXTREMELY tired to the point of needing to nap immediately after he came home from school. At the doctor’s suggestion, we split the dose into 1 mg in the morning and 1 mg at night and have not had further issues. Our son also has Tourette syndrome, and this was very effective in lessening his tics. We found it did not do enough to remediate issues of focus and impulsivity, however, and have since added Strattera to his regimen. The two medications seem to be working well together, and he has an improvement in his symptoms.

  13. I’ve had great luck with guanfacine. High blood pressure meant that my ARNP took me off Focalin. I started on Intuniv with a coupon, but I’ve been happy with the inexpensive short acting guanfacine as well. Works to keep me calm, less frustrated and antsy. I even get things done, but it’s the relief from stress and anxiety which I enjoy the most.

  14. My 12 yr old son has ADHD (combined type) and also Tourette’s Syndrome. He cannot take any stimulants as they are very well known for bringing tics out in some kids. Since my son already has Tourette’s, we have to avoid those. He was taking Intuniv (long acting Guanfacine) for about 4 years which worked wonderfully for both tics and ADHD symptoms. Since starting puberty the Intuniv wasn’t working as well. We have changed him over to Strattera(80mg) and that seems to be working out great for him.

    Oh! Almost forgot. The Intuniv did cause some extreme sleepiness with my son. The Strattera is not doing that at all. I was told years ago by one of his doctors that puberty would be a trying time and would probably require some medication changes.

  15. My ten year old daughter recently started on generic guanfacine, without stimulants. She started with a half a one mg tablet. A lot of problems with drowsiness the first few days and then seemed to mellow out, but I couldn’t tell if there was any difference in behavior. We upped the dosage to 1 mg last week and are back to the drowsiness in extreme. She is like a zombie and hates feeling the way she does. She is having a HARDER time paying attention in class because she is so sleepy. I don’t like seeing her that way. I guess we could try taking it at night instead, but not sure what to do because the generic is “short acting” and she is supposed to take two pills, one in the morning and one at lunch.

  16. The first medication my 7 year-old son tried was guanfacine. He has been diagnosed ADHD with signs of anxiety so we wanted to start with a non-stimulant because of the anxiety. Taking it in the morning made him so sleepy he could not function and would fall asleep at his desk at school. Taking it at night solved the sleep problem but we didn’t see any changes in behavior after about 2 months and discontinued it. He is now taking Strattera which is another non-stimulant. He’s been taking it for 2 months with no negative side effects and we’re starting to see some small positive changes in his behavior but what we’re trying to address is his inability to focus and stay on task at school; since school is out it tough to say if it’s truly working.

  17. My son has been on a ton of medications in 2 years. We finally landed on Vyvanse in the morning and Tenex at night. So far it has worked. It is a roller coaster ride.

  18. My son took Tenex for a while in addition to his stimulants. The goal was to keep the stimulant effective (it stopped working every six weeks) without giving the maximum dose. It didn’t meet that goal so he ended up stopping Tenex.

    Intuniv is simply a long-acting preparation of Tenex. Here’s an FAQ on this medication.
    ADDconnect Moderator, Author on ADHD, and Mom to Pre-Teen Boy w/ ADHD and LDs

  19. My 13 year-old son started taking Tenex (Guanfacine) several months ago, in addition to his Adderrall XR.

    Our doctor prescribed it because my son was experiencing severe facial/motor tics and Tenex is thought to help them. I was pleasantly surprised with it because in addition to tapering off his tics, it worked really well in combo with the Adderall in respect to his focus and behavior at school.

    The one thing is that I gave it to him without the Adderall a few times and and he got sleepy. The bottle says to give it to him at night, but my doctor told me I could try it in the morning. With Adderall, it doesn’t make him sleepy at all so I typically give it to him in the morning.

    Lastly, he started off on 1 mg & is now on 2 mg.

Tips for Good Medication and Treatment Reviews

  • Post reviews only for medications or treatments you have used or prescribed.
  • In your description, mention whether you're reviewing the medication or treatment for a child or for an adult (yourself or another adult), and as a patient or as a medical professional.
  • Mention what medical condition you were using the medication or treatment to address.
  • Mention the brand, dose, and period of time that you used the medication or treatment.
  • Please share your positive and negative experiences with the medication or treatment in detail. Note effectiveness, ease of use, side effects; and compare it with other treatments you have used.
  • Do not include any personal information or links in your review.

Add Your Review