ADHD Treatment: You Have Options

Posted on: 5 January 2021


Many parents are under the assumption that there is one treatment for ADHD, and if their child is diagnosed with ADHD, they will simply be prescribed that medication. However, this is not entirely true. There are actually several different medications that can be used to treat and manage ADHD, and part of your child's diagnosis will typically be a meeting with their doctor, during which you and the doctor can talk about your child's overall health and disposition in order to determine which medication is likely to suit them best. Sometimes, a child has to try a couple of different medications before they find the one that works best. So, what medications may be recommended? Here's a look at a few of the most common ones.

Amphetamine and Dextroamphetamine

These two medications are quite similar and have similar courses of action. Some brand name ADHD medications actually combine the two drugs. They're stimulants, which means they increase wakefulness and awareness and can help children remain focused throughout the day. Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine are typically taken once a day in the morning. They can be addictive, so if your child ever stops taking them, they will need to be weaned off slowly. Common side effects include headache, insomnia, and weight loss. Often, reducing the dose can reduce side effects to a manageable level, but if the lower dose does not give your child enough help with ADHD symptoms, there may be a better medication for them to try.


Methylphenidate is also a stimulant, but it works via a slightly different pathway than amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, so it is an option for patients who don't react well to these drugs. Generally, prescription preparations of methylphenidate are designed to slowly release throughout the day, so your child can remain focused all day long after only taking one pill in the morning. Methylphenidate can make psychiatric problems worse, so it may not be recommended for children who show symptoms of a psychiatric disorder.


Clonidine is not a stimulant. It seems to regulate the part of the brain involved in attention span and hyperactivity. It tends to be a good choice for children who don't react well to stimulants or cannot take them for various reasons. Clonidine comes in both an oral form, which needs to be taken twice a day, and in a patch form. The patch is really convenient for younger kids who do not like to swallow pills; it delivers the medication through the skin. Possible side effects include dry mouth, dry eyes, tiredness, and insomnia.

As you can see, there are several different treatments for ADHD. Your child's doctor can help you decide which is best. Contact an ADHD treatment clinic for more information.