About ADHD Medication


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental issue. It causes a range of symptoms. These include:

  • problems concentrating
  • forgetfulness
  • hyperactivity
  • an inability to finish tasks

Medications can help decrease ADHD symptoms in children and adults. Treatment approaches can vary between children and adults, and not every person with ADHD takes the same drugs. In fact, many drugs are available to treat ADHD. The following list of drugs for ADHD can help you talk to your doctor about what option may be right for you.


Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD. They are often the first course of drugs used for ADHD treatment. You might hear this class of drugs called central nervous system (CNS) stimulant medications. They work by increasing the amounts of the hormones called dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. This effect improves concentration and decreases the fatigue that’s common with ADHD.

Many brand-name stimulants are now only available as generic versions. This is because some health insurance companies will only pay for the generics. They tend to cost less. However, other drugs are only available as brand-name products.


They come in immediate-release (a drug that’s released into your body right away) and extended-release (a drug that’s released into your body slowly) oral forms. Brand names of these drugs include:

  • Adderall XR(generic available)
  • Dexedrine(generic available)
  • Dextrostat (generic available)
  • Dynavel XR
  • Evekeo
  • ProCentra (generic available)
  • Vyvanse

Methamphetamine (Desoxyn)

Methamphetamine is related to ephedrine and amphetamine. It also works by stimulating the CNS. It’s not known exactly how this drug works to help ADHD symptoms. It can reduce your appetite and increase your blood pressure. This drug comes as an oral tablet taken once or twice per day.


Methylphenidate works by helping the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine in your brain. It’s also a mild stimulant. It comes as immediate-release, extended-release, and controlled-release oral forms. It also comes as a transdermal patch under the brand name Daytrana. Brand names include:

  • Aptensio XR
  • Metadate ER
  • Metadate CD (generic available)
  • Concerta (generic available)
  • Daytrana
  • Ritalin (generic available)
  • Ritalin LA (generic available)
  • Methylin (generic available)
  • QuilliChew
  • Quillivant
  • Focalin(generic available)


Non-stimulants affect the brain differently than stimulants do. These drugs also affect neurotransmitters, but they don’t increase dopamine levels. In general, it takes longer to see results from these drugs than from stimulants.

These drugs come in several classes. A doctor might prescribe them when stimulants aren’t safe or are ineffective. They may also prescribe them if a person wants to avoid the side effects of stimulants.

Atomoxetine (Strattera)

Atomoxetine (Strattera) works by letting norepinephrine work longer in the brain. The drug is long-acting, so you only need to take it once per day. This drug is not available as a generic.

Atomoxetine has caused liver damage in a small number of people. If you have signs of liver problems while taking this drug, your doctor will check your liver function. Signs of liver problems include a tender or swollen abdomen, yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes, or fatigue.

Clonidine (Kapvay)

Clonidine (Kapvay) is used to reduce hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and distractibility in people with ADHD. This drug is also used to treat high blood pressure. Because it also lowers blood pressure, people taking it for ADHD may feel lightheaded.

Guanfacine (Intuniv)

Guanfacine (Intuniv) is normally prescribed for high blood pressure in adults. This drug is available as a generic, but only the brand-name version Intuniv is approved for use in children with ADHD.

This drug may help with memory and behavioral problems. It may also help improve aggression and hyperactivity.

Talk with your doctor

Your doctor may suggest other ADHD treatments along with medications. For instance, an article in Pediatrics says that changing your diet may alleviate your ADHD symptoms. A study in Clinical Psychology Review found that taking omega-3 supplements may also modestly improve symptoms in children with ADHD. Talk to your doctor about your drug options as well as the alternatives, such as these 5 natural remedies. It’s important to discuss all ADHD treatment options with your doctor to gain the best results.

Nowadays the diagnosis of ADHD is complicated by that it is a multifactor neurological disorder, which symptoms rise gradually. But the lack or untimely ADHD treatment in children may cause the ADHD symptoms in adults. Typical ADHD symptoms for children and adults are as follows:

*  the lack of interest and attention to concrete task;

*  difficult self-realization to fulfill the certain task;

*  unwillingness to perform task, requiring long concentration;

*  inattention, carelessness, forgetfulness and frequent loss of personal things;

*  systemic distraction from the task by outside stimuli;

*  anxious, chaotic or rhythmic movements by feet and (or) hands;

*  pointless, spontaneous motor activity and impulsiveness;

* chattiness and lack of attention to what the interlocutor says.

Given that children’s ADHD symptoms are almost the same as ADHD symptoms arising in mature age, children and adults are prescribed with the same medications for ADHD treatment. Despite active growth of the pharmaceutical industry, today’s ADHD therapy involves ADHD meds, developed about 60 years ago.

Although we must admit that there are more modern ADHD meds, developed in 21st century. However it doesn’t mean that traditional ADHD drugs, studied for over several decades, are less effective than new ADHD meds.

This statement is proved by the fact that Methylphenidate medication was approved by the FDA for ADHD treatment back in 1955. But until now, it stays the most-prescribed medication for ADHD treatment and its production is carried out by several largest pharmaceutical companies.

ADHD meds that contain active pharmaceutical ingredient Methylphenidate, is available in various dosage forms. Thus, ADHD meds, containing Methylphenidate, come in: chewable pills, oral solution or suspension, oral tablets or capsules and even transdermal patch.

It is also important that Methylphenidate is available in a large scale of dosages. Therefore according to the severity of ADHD symptoms, doctor can prescribe his patient an optimal daily dosage of this medication. Despite the fact that Methylphenidate is one of the most popular ADHD meds, some children and adult people are contraindicated to use it.

Taking into account contraindications for use of Methylphenidate, the doctor can prescribe some alternative ADHD meds that can relieve the symptoms of neurological disorder. There are several ADHD meds on modern pharmaceutical market, which can be taken instead of Methylphenidate.

For instance, such ADHD meds as Dexmethylphenidate and Dextroamphetamine are no less effective than Methylphenidate. But due to the fact that the clinical experience with the treatment of ADHD meds is much longer, doctors prefer to administer their patients namely this medication more than others.

There are combined ADHD meds on sale, each of which consists of several pharmaceutical ingredients. For example, Adderall medication contains mixed salts of amphetamine products, such as Dextroamphetamine (in form of saccharate and sulfate) and Amphetamine (in form of monohydrate and sulfate).

Just as Methylphenidate, Adderall is used for the treatment of ADHD since the middle of the last century and all potential risks for health (caused by its usage) are well known. The only reason why Adderall is prescribed for ADHD treatment more rarely than Methylphenidate, it is big number of contraindications for use.

Note that it doesn’t matter what ADHD meds were prescribed to a patient, they must be terminated immediately if these meds caused cardiovascular side effects. If ADHD meds provoke palpitation, high blood pressure or chest pain, one must stop the ADHD treatment course and tell a doctor about appearing side effects.

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