An empty class room

An empty class room (Jure Makovec, AFP/Getty Images)

Charach cautioned, however, that the previous studies showed that parents needed to follow through with their training sessions.

"If parents only go to about half the sessions, they don't get nearly as much benefit," she said.

Dr. William Barbaresi, who researches ADHD at Boston Children's Hospital, also said that it may be difficult for parents to find the sessions.

"Although a behavioral approach is clearly the most appropriate first line of intervention, it is often extremely difficult for families to access high-quality behavioral therapy, due to the inadequate level of insurance funding for these services," Barbaresi, who wasn't involved with the analysis, told Reuters Health in an email.

He added that the new findings support the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines on treating children with ADHD.

The AAP recommends doctors evaluate children from age four through 18 years old for ADHD if they have academic or behavior problems. They recommend behavior therapy for four and five year olds, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for those six years old and older.

Charach said she didn't look at which treatment is more cost-effective.

"In the immediate term, it may look like the session is more expensive, but it depends on the medication," she said.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, online April 1, 2013.

(The story corrects name of researcher in paragraph three of story posted Apr 2, 2013 as 20130402elin004 to Dr. Alice Charach.)