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ADD & ADHD Health Center

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ADHD Medication Chart

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Class
Drug Name
Form
Duration Common Side Effects
Amphetamine Stimulants
Short-acting
4-6 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics. Short-acting medicines require frequent dosing.
Short-acting
4-6 hours
Short-acting
4-6 hours
Dexedrine
Spansule
Long-acting
6-8 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics. Long-acting medicines are convenient but may have greater effects on appetite and sleep.

Adderall XR

Long-acting
8-12 hours

Long-acting

(prodrug)

10-12 hours
Methylphenidate Stimulants
Short-acting
4-6 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics. Short-acting medicines require frequent dosing.
Methylin
Short-acting
3-4 hours
Short-acting
3-4 hours
Metadate ER
Intermediate-acting
6-8 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics. Longer-acting medicines are convenient but may have greater effects on appetite and sleep.
Methylin ER
Intermediate-acting
6-8 hours
Ritalin SR
Intermediate-acting
4-8 hours
Metadate CD
Intermediate-acting
8-10 hours
Ritalin LA
Intermediate-acting
8-10 hours
Long-acting
10-12 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics. Longer-acting medicines are convenient but may have greater side effects on appetite and sleep.
Quillivant XR
Long-acting
12 hours
Focalin XR
Long-acting
6-10 hours
Daytrana patch
Long-acting
10-12 hour
Skin irritation, some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics.
Nonstimulants
Long-acting (extended release)
24 hours
Sleep problems, anxiety, fatigue, upset stomach, dizziness, dry mouth. Rarely, liver damage. There are some concerns about a link between Strattera and suicidal thoughts.
Long-acting (extended release)
24 hours
Sleepiness, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain. Rarely, Intuniv can cause low blood pressure and heart rhythm changes.
Short-acting
4-5 hours
Sleep problems, headaches. Although rare, Wellbutrin may increase the risk of seizures.
Wellbutrin SR
Sustained release
(long-acting)
12 hours
Extended release
(long-acting)
24 hours
NA
8-24 hours
Sleep problems, anxiety, fatigue, upset stomach, dizziness, dry mouth, elevated heart rate, risk of heart arrhythmias.
NA
8-24 hours
NA
8-24 hours
NA
8-24 hours
Not recommended for children. Associated with rare cases of fatal heart problems.
Blood
Pressure Medicines

Clonidine

Catapres or

Kapvay

NA

4-6 hours (tablets)

24 hours (patch)

24
hours
(Tablet taken twice a day)

Fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, behavior problems, low blood pressure. Stopping this medicine suddenly can result in high blood pressure.
NA
6-8 hours
ADHD Medicines and Safety

The FDA has issued a warning about the risk of drug abuse with amphetamine stimulants. FDA safety advisors are also concerned about the possibility that all amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants used for ADHD may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems.

The FDA has also issued a warning about a connection between antidepressants (including the non-stimulant Strattera) and an increased risk of suicide in adults aged 18-24, especially in the first one or two months of treatment.

While these risks may seem alarming, keep in mind that experts generally consider these medicines safe when they are monitored properly by a professional. Serious problems are rare. Still, you should discuss the risks and benefits of these drugs with your doctor.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Patricia Quinn, MD on May 10, 2014
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