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ADD & ADHD Health Center

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ADHD Medication Titration Process: What to Expect

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What About Side Effects? continued...

Always call your child’s doctor right away if you’re concerned or worried about side effects. One example could be that your child develops tics. These can be small repetitive body motions like blinking or grimacing. Call especially if a side effect is getting worse. Do this instead of trying to take them off a medication yourself. If you stop medications suddenly, it can have dangerous side effects.

Your child’s doctor can usually fix side effects. She can lower the dose, change the times they are taken, or even switch medicines.

What about rare side effects? Heart problems, liver problems, hallucinations (like seeing small bugs, hearing things, becoming suspicious, or having strange feelings on their skin), agitation, and suicidal thoughts can happen, rarely, with some ADHD medications.

If it’s an emergency, call 911. Other than that, contact your child’s doctor immediately. These things happen in less than 1 in 10,000 people, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Titration and Your Role as a Parent

Prescribing ADHD medication isn't an exact science. It can sometimes take weeks or months to arrive at the right dose for your child. But during that time there are things to do.

Ask for information. Make sure that all your questions about the medication and the titration process are answered. And make sure that you fully understand what to expect from the medication before your child begins taking it.

Keep an eye on him. Parents, as well as your child, will need to participate in this process. ADHD medications affect every child differently. That's why it’s important to watch your child for improvements and side effects during titration.

Take notes. After your child has been taking the ADHD medicine for at least 1 week, you and your child's teachers should track ADHD symptoms. Your doctor may even give you special forms, called rating scales, to help with this. You and the teachers should be alert for and report any side effects that happen during treatment.

If there aren’t any problems after a month of treatment, see your child's doctor again. At that time, the doctor can make sure that:

  • The medicine is working.
  • The dosage is correct.
  • The side effects are acceptable to you and your child.

Once the proper dosage is found, experts recommend visiting the doctor regularly -- about every three months. The doctor will check whether your child's medication plan is still right and works.

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