What is medicine for ADHD?

Medication helps lessen the symptoms of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattentiveness in children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. However, ADHD medication does not cure ADHD. If you stop taking the medication, your symptoms will return. They can have risks and unintended effects, so they’re not the only option for treating your problems.

It is essential that you, as the patient or parent, are informed on the facts surrounding ADHD medication in order to make the best decision for yourself or your child.

Recognizing ADHD medications

First, it’s important to understand exactly what ADHD medications can and cannot do.

You may be able to focus more clearly, control your impulses, set objectives, and finish tasks on time if you take an ADHD medication. However, it’s not a magic potion that will solve every problem you or your child has.

Even with a successful course of treatment, certain symptoms persist. For instance, whereas a child with ADHD may still experience forgetfulness, emotional problems, and social anxiety, an adult with ADHD may still experience disorganization, distractibility, and interpersonal difficulties. It is essential to alter your lifestyle in order to better manage your symptoms because of this. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and enough sleep are all part of these changes.

[See also: Adult ADHD Management Tips, ADHD Parenting Tips]

It’s also critical to remember that each person responds to ADHD medication in a unique way. Effectiveness varies, so not everything that works for someone else will work for you or your child. While some witness enormous advancements, others might only notice slight or nonexistent changes.

Due to the vast diversity of options available, selecting the best ADHD medication can often feel difficult. You may need to be patient and work through some trial and error with your doctor to determine the precise medication and dosage that will work best for you or your child.

Because the effects of ADHD medicine can vary widely, it is important to always customize the dosage and have it carefully monitored by a doctor. If ADHD medicine is not properly regulated, it may be less safe and less effective.

ADHD stimulant medications

Stimulants are the most frequently recommended class of medications for treating attention deficit disorder. The most study has been done to support their efficacy, and they have been treating ADHD for the longest time. Common medications in the stimulant class include:

Ritalin combined with Concerta (methylphenidate)

Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) is a medication.

Focalin, also known as xmethylphenidate

Zenzedi, Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine), and ProCentra  

Élidexamfetamine, also known as vyvanse

Evekeo, Adzenys (amphetamine), and Dyanavel

How stimulant medications function

Stimulants are thought to work by raising dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is one neurotransmitter linked to drive, enjoyment, concentration, and movement. For many ADHD patients, stimulant medications reduce impulsive and hyperactive behaviors while improving focus and concentration.

Long-acting versus short-acting stimulants

There are ADHD stimulant dosages that work quickly and slowly. Short-acting stimulants peak several hours after two to three daily administrations. Long-acting or extended-release stimulants typically have a half-life of eight to twelve hours and are taken once daily.

Long-acting forms of ADHD medications are usually recommended because people with the disorder frequently have trouble remembering to take their prescriptions. One dosage per day is far easier to consume and more convenient.

adverse effects of drugs that increase the body’s

adverse effects of stimulant medications

feeling awkward and uncomfortable

Having trouble getting to sleep

decrease in appetite


upset tummy

Mood fluctuations and annoyance



heart rate pounding


Stimulant medicines can also cause a personality change. Some begin to become more reclusive, impulsive, sleepy, or less talkative. OCD symptoms are also seen in other people.

Given that stimulants raise blood pressure and heart rate, many professionals are worried about the risks associated with using them for extended periods of time.

Concerns about stimulant medication safety

Safety concerns with stimulant medications

influence on the developing brain. The long-term effects of ADHD drug use on a developing young person’s brain are unknown. Some experts are concerned that children and teenagers using stimulant drugs may not be developing their brains normally.

heart-related issues. Adolescents and adults with heart problems have been known to pass away suddenly after using medications that stimulate the ADHD brain region. The American cardiac Association recommends that all patients, including children, have a cardiac examination prior to starting a stimulant treatment. If the patient has a history of cardiac problems, an ECG is advised.

psychological challenges. ADHD medications may cause or worsen paranoia, aggression, hostility, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. When using stimulants, people who have a history of bipolar disorder, depression, or suicide in their family or on their own should be closely monitored.

Potential for abuse. Stimulant abuse is a growing problem, particularly among adolescents and young adults. College students who use this medication get an energy boost whether studying for exams or pulling all-nighters. Stimulant medicines are overused by some persons because they aid in weight loss. If your child is taking stimulant-containing prescriptions, be sure they aren’t sharing or selling them.

Stimulants for ADHD are not recommended for people who have:

any type of illness or cardiac dysfunction

elevated BP

hyperactive thyroid


heightened fear

a history of drug abuse

Warning Signs of Stimulant Medication

Get in touch with your doctor right immediately if you or your child exhibit any of the following symptoms while taking a stimulant.

Medication for ADHD:

discomfort in the chest


loosing awareness

observing or hearing made-up events

mistrust or unease

ADHD non-stimulant medications

In addition to the standard stimulant therapies, some non-stimulant medications are used to treat ADHD, including Strattera, Qelbree, Intuniv, and Kapvay.

Additionally, doctors occasionally treat attention deficit disorder “off-label”—that is, using certain medications for conditions that have not received FDA approval—with these medications. Tricyclic and atypical antidepressants, such as Wellbutrin, are examples of them.

Non-stimulant drugs are often considered when stimulants have failed to produce desired results or have caused undesirable side effects. When using non-stimulant ADHD medications, the risk of abuse or addiction is frequently lower. While there is always a chance of side effects with medications, the likelihood of agitation or insomnia is lower with nonstimulants.

ADHD medication Strattera

A class of antidepressants known as selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, includes the non-stimulant drugs Strattera (atomoxetine) and Qelbree (viloxazine), which have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of ADHD. Unlike stimulants, which act on dopamine, Strattera and Qelbree increase norepinephrine levels, a special brain chemical that can aid with impulse control and attention spans.

While Qelbree is approved for usage in children aged 6 to 17, it is also occasionally prescribed for adults. The half-lives of Qelbree and Strattera are longer than those of stimulant medications. Because of their longer-lasting effects, they’re a great option for people who have trouble getting motivated in the morning. Because of its antidepressant properties, it’s also a great choice for people who co-occur anxiety or depression. A bonus is that it doesn’t exacerbate tics or Tourette’s Syndrome.

To treat symptoms associated to hyperactivity, Strattera does not appear to be as helpful as stimulant medications.

adverse effects of SNRIs

In both adults and children, common Qelbree and Strattera side effects include:




stomach pains or an uneasy feeling

throwing up or feeling uneasy

alterations in mood

While these are more typical of stimulants, other possible adverse effects of both Straterra and Qelbree include appetite suppression and insomnia.

among addition to erectile dysfunction, dry mouth, and erectile dysfunction, other sexual side effects are also possible among Straterra users. On rare occasions, it might cause elevated blood pressure, an accelerated heartbeat, and liver problems.

Children at Risk for Suicide with Strattera and Qelbee

Like other SNRIs, Strattera and Qelbree may cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors in some people, especially in kids and young adults who also have depression or bipolar disorder in addition to ADHD.

If your child shows indications of anxiety, rage, suicidal ideas or actions, and/or

unexpected modifications to behavior.

March 12, 2024

Freya Parker

Freya Parker lives in Sydney and writes about cars. She's really good at explaining car stuff in simple words. She studied at a good university in Melbourne. Freya started her career at Auto Trader, where she learned a lot about buying and selling cars. She also works with We Buy Cars in South Africa and some small car businesses in Australia.

What makes her special is that she cares about the environment. She likes to talk about how cars affect the world. Freya writes in a friendly way that helps people understand cars better. That's why many people in the car industry like to listen to her.

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