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What is the difference between short and long-acting forms of stimulant drugs for ADHD?

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These medications come in different forms:

  • Short-acting (immediate-release). These take effect quickly and can wear off quickly, too. Your child may need to take these several times a day. They usually work for about 4 hours.
  • Intermediate-acting. These last a few hours longer than short-acting versions.
  • Long-acting drugs. Your child might need to take this kind only once a day. They work for 8-12 hours.

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health: "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder."

Medscape: "Combination Pharmacologic Treatment for ADHD: The Emerging Evidence Base."

FDA: "Strattera."

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: "New Advances in the Pharmacological Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder."

UpToDate: "Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents: Treatment with medications" and "Pharmacology of drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents."

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on March 25, 2019

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health: "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder."

Medscape: "Combination Pharmacologic Treatment for ADHD: The Emerging Evidence Base."

FDA: "Strattera."

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: "New Advances in the Pharmacological Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder."

UpToDate: "Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents: Treatment with medications" and "Pharmacology of drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents."

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on March 25, 2019

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What form and dosage of stimulant medication should my child take for ADHD?

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