Skip to content

    ADD & ADHD Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Nonstimulant Therapy and Other ADHD Drugs

    Stimulant medications are usually a doctor's first choice for treating ADHD, but they’re not for everyone. They can cause bad side effects for some people. For others, they just don’t work very well.

    If you’re looking for other medications that work for the disorder, you've got several choices.

    Sometimes your doctor will add one of these medicines to the stimulant you take, or he might have you take one of the following by itself.

    There are three main groups of nonstimulant medications for the condition:

    ADHD-specific nonstimulants. These were specifically created to treat the disorder and are FDA-approved for that.

    Blood pressure medications. They can also help some people control ADHD. Some of these have the same active ingredient as ADHD-specific nonstimulants.

    Antidepressants . These can help against the disorder by working on chemicals in the brain. They're also helpful for people who have ADHD and depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder.

    ADHD-Specific Nonstimulants

    Atomoxetine (Strattera) is OK for children, teens, and adults. It seems to boost the amount of an important brain chemical called norepinephrine. This appears to increase a person's attention span and lessen their impulsive behavior and hyperactivity.

    Clonidine ER (Kapvay) and Guanfacine ER (Intuniv) are approved for children ages 6 to 17. Doctors also prescribe them to adults. These two drugs have an effect on certain areas in the brain. Studies show they lower distractibility and improve attention, working memory, and impulse control.

    Advantages of Nonstimulants Over Stimulants

    Nonstimulants don’t tend to cause agitation, sleeplessness, or lack of appetite. They also don’t pose the same risk of abuse or addiction.

    Plus, they have a longer-lasting and smoother effect than many stimulants, which can take effect and wear off abruptly.

    1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

    Today on WebMD

    Post it notes
    Symptoms and treatments.
    Close up of eye
    What's zapping your focus?
     
    man driving car
    How to manage your impulses.
    contemplating woman
    Learn to stop procrastinating.
     
    concentration killers
    SLIDESHOW
    Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
    Article
     
    ADHD and Substance Abuse
    Article
    Reduce Side Effects ADHD Medications
    Article
     

    woman with adhd doing college homework
    Article
    smiling man
    Article
     
    ADHD in Marriage and Romantic Relationships
    Article
    Adult man lying awake in bed
    Article