Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (cont.)
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Medicines are used to help control the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines recommend medicine and/or behavior therapy to treat children who have ADHD.4
Children should be closely watched after they start medicines. The doctor can assess whether your child is receiving the correct dose. Side effects usually decrease after a few weeks on the medicines. Or the dosage can be lowered to offset side effects.
Be sure that medicine for ADHD is taken consistently. You will also need to keep track of the effects of the medicine and communicate closely with your child's doctor.
Medicines to treat ADHD include:
Most often, stimulant medicines are used to treat ADHD. These medicines are effective for people of all ages. But more research is needed on how adults respond. In general, stimulant medicines improve symptoms in about 70 out of 100 people who have ADHD.1 There are often quick and dramatic improvements in behavior.
Taking medicine for ADHD doesn't increase the risk for substance abuse later. Some studies have found less alcohol and drug abuse in children and teens with ADHD who had taken stimulant medicines than in those who didn't receive medicine.5
If stimulant medicines have bothersome side effects or aren't effective, your child's doctor might recommend a nonstimulant medicine such as atomoxetine (Strattera), clonidine (Kapvay), or guanfacine (Intuniv). These medicines may be used alone or in combination with stimulant medicines.
What to think about
Medicines may also be used to treat other mental health conditions that often occur along with ADHD. One condition is anxiety disorders.
If your child is taking medicine for ADHD, consider:
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