ADHD Medications

Douglas Cowan Psy.D.'s picture
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ADHD with Medication : Many Effective ADHD Drug Choices

ADHD medications, especially stimulants, can be very helpful in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD - in children, teens, and adults. About 80% of those with ADHD will respond positively to medication. The benefits can be dramatic, and patients and parents should always hope for, and work toward, a "day and night difference" from using medication.

There is no shortage of choices when it comes to ADHD medication. Ritalin, Ritalina, Rilatine, Ritalin LA, Attenta, Concerta, Metadate, Methylin, Rubifen, Focalin, and Daytrana are each ADHD medication made from some form of the stimulant Methylphenidate.

Amphetamine based medications include Adderall, Dexedrine, Desoxyn, and Vyvanse (a prodrug).

Strattera and Intuniv are the only non-stimulant ADHD medications approved by the FDA for ADHD treatment. Strattera is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, basically an antidepressant. Intuniv is a form of a blood pressure medication that is helpful with symptoms of ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder.

Each ADHD medication will be discussed in detail in the articles below. Many ADHD medications carry the FDA's "Black Box Warning" Labels and should be used cautiously.

Stimulants such as amphetmine and methylphenidate have been around for over 60 years. In the second World War the German army used amphetamines so that the soldiers could march all night and fight all day. Medications such as Ritalin, Dexedrine, Concerta, and ADDerall, are derived from one of these two general classes of stimulants. Overall, they work very well, and probably 75% to 80% of those who try them will benefit.



Stimulants used for ADHD work by increasing both blood flow and the levels of Dopamine in the brain, especially the frontal lobes where the brain’s Executive Functions take place. They also enhance the inhibitory systems of the brain by enhancing Serotonin and Norepinepherine levels.

They do not work by having some mystical "opposite effect" on children.

There is an unbelievable amount of research done on children and Ritalin. We have heard that Ritalin is the most widely studied medication prescribed to children in the world, and we would not dispute that claim. It seems that every doctoral candidate writing his dissertation for psychology does something with Ritalin.

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Go to the ADHD Diet Information site to get the full ADHD diet in eBook PDF format, including our UPDATES for 2013. We also have the full 21 minute information video on our ADHD eating program.

Stimulants, whether Ritalin or the amphetamines such as Dexedrine or ADDerall, all have benefits for children and adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Stimulant medication for ADHD will increase the brain’s ability to inhibit itself. This allows the brain to focus on the right thing at the right time, and to be less distracted, and less impulsive. Stimulants increase the “signal to noise ratio” in the brain.

They will also increase both gross motor co-ordination and fine motor control. For several years the sales brochure for Ritalin simply had pictures of children’s handwriting before Ritalin, and with 10 mg of Ritalin in their system. The changes were dramatic, and physicians wrote a lot of prescriptions for Ritalin.

There are many charges that Ritalin is “over-prescribed” in America. But if those charges are true, it is only because Ritalin actually works! If it didn’t work, sometimes dramatically, it wouldn’t be “over-prescribed.”

But are we great advocates for the use of stimulant medication for ADHD? No. At least not as the first treatment to try. We would prefer that parents try the nutritional medicines like ATTEND and Extress, and our ADHD diet first.

However, there is a time and a place for the use of stimulant medication for ADHD. And we want you to have accurate information about them. There are two clear sides in what has become a battle: the pharmaceutical companies that make money selling ADHD drugs, and those that are terrified about them.

Yes, the medications can help a lot, and are really helpful for many with ADHD - but likely not has helpful as you think they are going to be. And yes, there are potential side effects to ADHD drugs, some of which can be serious so the medications have to be taken seriously.

Read about each ADHD medication and how they are used in the treatment of ADHD. Also read the articles on the FDA hearings, and the FDA "black box warnings" on certain ADHD Medications.

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