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ADD & ADHD Health Center

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ADHD Medication Titration Process: What to Expect

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Titration is a big word that means working with your doctor to get your child’s medication just right.

The goal is to find the dose (or amount) of medicine that controls your child's symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with the fewest side effects. Like any medicine, ADHD drugs can have side effects. And they don't work in exactly the same way for every child.

It can take time to find the right balance -- sometimes many weeks. But it is worth it. The doctor will usually tell you to give your child slightly more medicine every 1 to 3 weeks. They will continue this until your child's ADHD symptoms are controlled or they get side effects.

ADHD medication dosages should always be planned just for the needs of your child. There’s no blanket treatment plan that works for everyone with ADHD.

How Titration Works

The doctor will start your child on a low dose of medicine. He will need to be on each medication dose for about a week. That will give you and your doctor a good idea of whether it's working. If your child starts feeling side effects, it can help you figure out how bad they might be.

Some side effects slowly get better over time. So it's important not to make changes too quickly, particularly if the medication works to control his symptoms.

When your child’s doctor makes the titration plan, she should take into account your child's height, weight, and symptoms. She should also ask about your child's daily schedule and your family's needs.

How Will You Know If Treatment Is Working?

Medication is an important part of the overall treatment plan for children with ADHD. Doctors often prescribe stimulant medications or other drugs to control ADHD symptoms like:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity
  • Distractibility
  • Short attention span

When on a proper dose, you may begin to see some of these get better.

What About Side Effects?

They can depend on the medication your child is prescribed. Stimulant medications are the ones most often prescribed.

Common side effects of these can include:

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