For the first time ever, a video game has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used as a prescription for kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). That means it can legally be marketed and sold as a medicine in the U.S.
The game, created by Akili Interactive, is called EndeavorRx and is played on iPads or iPhones. It's meant to be used for kids between eight and twelve years old with ADHD.
The study was published in Lancet Digital Health.
A medicinal video game
EndeavorRx didn't just join the medicinal ranks in one hop and a skip. It took seven years of clinical trials that studied over 600 kids with ADHD to decipher whether or not the game could actually make a difference.
Akili Interactive definitely believes that its video game can make a difference. In the favorite of its five studies it noted that one-third of the kids that were treated with EndeavorRx "no longer had a measurable attention deficit on at least one measure of objective attention."
The kids had played the obstacle-dodging game for 25 minutes a day, five days a week over four weeks.
As per the company "Improvements in ADHD impairments following a month of treatment with EndeavorRx were maintained for up to a month." And the only side effects were frustration and headache — not too awful compared to some traditional drugs' effects on the body.
However, at the bottom of the study, the researchers did mention that the results"are not sufficient to suggest that AKL-T01 should be used as an alternative to established and recommended treatments for ADHD."
So the game should be seen and used as an additional treatment for the disorder. In any case, it's a fun way for kids to spend their time, and if it does indeed help them to focus better afterwards, there's no harm in that!
The next steps are for the company to launch the game, although enrollment is already live on their website for a limited number of families. You can join the waitlist here.