Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

ADHD in Children Health Center

Font Size

What Is Adjunctive Therapy for ADHD in Children?

If your child has ADHD, you’ve got several ways to help her symptoms.

Kids with ADHD often start by taking one medicine, often a stimulant.

Recommended Related to ADD-ADHD - Pediatric

ADHD and Your Child's Future Career

All types of workers come to Michele Novotni’s office for help with their job concerns: musicians, teachers, truck drivers, TV reporters, salespeople, and even an opera singer. They all have something in common: ADHD. Novotni, a psychologist and coach who focuses on ADHD, advises them on how to manage their symptoms at work. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD and you're wondering how it will affect their career potential, the possibilities may be broader than you think. Children with...

Read the ADHD and Your Child's Future Career article > >

If that doesn't work well, the doctor might have your child keep taking the stimulant along with another type of medicine at the same time. This is called “adjunctive therapy.”

Treatment With Medication

The doctor will probably start your child on a small dose (or amount) of ADHD medicine. He’ll raise the dose slowly until it starts helping. The goal is to improve your child's symptoms and cause the fewest side effects.

The stimulant medications used most often for ADHD include:

These drugs don’t work for every child who takes them. About 20% of kids who take stimulants don't have much symptom relief. Or they get side effects.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all treatment. Your child might need one medication or more. Combining medications with behavior therapy might help, too.

Adjunctive Therapy Medications

When a stimulant medicine is only partially effective in controlling symptoms, doctors may try to improve its effectiveness by adding one of the following non-stimulant drugs:

Atomoxetine (Strattera). This medication is related to antidepressants. It was the first non-stimulant approved as a solo treatment for ADHD.

Clonidine ER (Kapvay). This high blood pressure medication was recently approved in an extended release (long-lasting) form for ADHD.

Guanfacine ER (Intuniv). This is another high blood pressure medication that is also approved to treat ADHD.

These medicines can also be used on their own in kids with ADHD.

Non-stimulant drugs work in a different way than stimulants. This is why the two types of medicines sometimes work better when combined.

Side Effects

Any ADHD medication can cause these. They can include:

Changes in heart rate and other heart problems also have been reported with some of these medicines. Your doctor should check your child’s blood pressure and heart rate routinely to watch for these effects.

Researchers still need to learn more about the safety and effectiveness of combining stimulants with other types of medications to treat ADHD. They are studying these different combos in clinical trials.

If your child has side effects, tell your pediatrician or psychiatrist immediately. The doctor may suggest stopping the medication or changing the dose.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on May 15, 2015

Today on WebMD

doctor writing on clipboard
mother with child
disciplining a boy
daughter with her unhappy parents
preschool age girl sitting at desk
Child with adhd
father helping son with homework
children in sack race