Parenting

Intro to Medications for ADD ADHD


The most common medications used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder are stimulant medications. Anti-depressant medications, and even anti-convulsant medications, are sometimes used as well, though this is less common.

The stimulant medications used to treat ADHD include Ritalin (Methylphenidate), Dexedrine (Dextroamphetamine), ADDerall, and Cylert (Sodium Pemoline). Ritalin is the most commonly used stimulant. About 90% of all patients who decide to use stimulants for their ADHD will at some point use Ritalin. It is the most predictable of the stimulants.

ADDerall is the new "up and coming" medication, as it lasts about six hours per dose, and is less "harsh" than Ritalin. Patients like it because it is "smoother" than Ritalin, as it goes into the system slower and leaves the system more gradually. Since it lasts longer than Ritalin, children can take a dose in the morning and not have to take another dose until after school, if at all. Lots of kids like not having to go to the office to get their medicine during lunch time.

We never recommend Cylert.  Never.  Pulled from use entirely in Canada, it may cause liver damage in children or adults. Besides, it is just not that effective for most people. The nutraceutical "Attend" is more effective using amino acids and essential fatty acids. If it's between Cylert and anything else, take the anything else.

We are not opposed to the use of stimulant medications like ritalin or adderall, provided that the physician knows what he or she is doing. We would prefer that parents try other interventions first, however, such as diet and/or nutraceuticals. The alternatives can be very effective as well, and should be considered as a treatment option.

Yes, we have hundreds of medication success stories. Yes, we have some horror stories as well. Remember, any medication, including Ritalin, ADDerall, Dexedrine, and other stimulants used for treating attention deficit disorders, can have bad side effects. That's why you must use a good doctor. For great information on medications used for Attention Deficit Disorder please visit the ADHD Information Library.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including http://www.newideas.net, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of NewIdeas.net Incorporated.


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