Briefs: Prescription Video Game for ADHD

Briefs: Prescription Video Game for ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects about 4 million children ages 6 to 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first prescription iPhone and iPad video game for kids ages 8 to 12 with ADHD.

The FDA authorized doctors to prescribe Akili Interactive’s EndeavorRX, which involves obstacle-dodging and target-collecting. Seven years of clinical research reported that it improves attention function if played for 25 minutes a day.

While Peter Jaksa, PhD, a psychologist at the ADHD Center in Chicago and author of Life With ADHD, has not seen the game in action, he says methods that reward focusing ability can be helpful for kids with ADHD. But to judge its efficacy, there needs to be evidence of whether it helps kids focus in daily life, such as while reading, conducting chores, and following directions, he says.

“I would approach this video game as a fun experiment to see if it might provide some benefits for the child,” Jaksa says. “Nothing works for everyone, including ADHD medications. Used in moderation, even video games can provide some partial benefits for some people.”

Originally published in the Fall 2020/Winter 2021 print issue.