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Date: 07/25/23

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a common children’s mental disorder often lasting through adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD include hyperactivity, lack of ability to pay attention to detail and control impulsivity at a greater amount than expected for a certain age or developmental age¹. This can cause difficulty at school, home, and with friends.  

ADHD Criteria

People with ADHD show a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development:

  1. Inattention: Six or more symptoms of inattention for children up to age 16, or five or more for people aged 17 and older; symptoms of inattention have been present for at least six months, and they are inappropriate for developmental level:
    • Often fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities
    • Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities
    • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
    • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked)
    • Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities
    • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework)
    • Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g., school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones)
    • Is often easily distracted
    • Is often forgetful in daily activities
  2. Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: Six or more symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity for children up to age 16, or five or more for people aged 17 and older; symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity have been present for at least six months to an extent that is disruptive and inappropriate for the person’s developmental level:
    • Often fidgets with or taping hands or feet, or squirming in seat
    • Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected
    • Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless)
    • Often unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly
    • Often acts “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”
    • Often talks excessively
    • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed
    • Often has trouble waiting their turn
    • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

Additionally, the following conditions must be met:

  • Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present before age 12
  • Several symptoms are present in two or more settings (e.g., at home, school, or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities)
  • There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, school, or work functioning
  • The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g., a mood disorder, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, or a personality disorder); The symptoms do not happen only during schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder


Listed below are the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-V criteria for diagnosis. Based on the types of symptoms, three kinds (presentations) of ADHD can occur:

  • Combined Presentation: if enough symptoms of both criteria inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity were present for the past 6 months
  • Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: if enough symptoms of inattention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, were present for the past six months
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: if enough symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity, but not inattention, were present for the past six months.

Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.


Treatment usually consists of a combination of therapy and medication. Psychostimulant medications are the recommended first line pharmacotherapy. The medications listed below are on Meridian’s preferred drug list (PDL). If there is a documented national shortage of a medication, Meridian can place an override on a case-by-case basis. To access the PDL, visit

Medication name




Clonidine/Clonidine ER


Dexmethylphenidate tablets

Focalin® XR


Methylphendiate tablets

Methylphenidate ER 10mg and 20mg tablets




Medication name



Preferred with Prior Authorization

Dyanavel® XR (Suspension)

Jornay PM®



1.       Symptoms and diagnosis of ADHD. Accessed June 13, 2023

2.       What is ADHD? Accessed June 13, 2023.

3.       American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed., Text Revision, American Psychiatric Publishing, 2022,