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What do I need to know about stimulants to treat adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

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Medication is the main treatment for ADHD in both children and adults, and stimulants are the first choice, and they tend to work the best. Usually, you start at a low dose. You then raise it every 7 days until you hit a sweet spot where you control your symptoms and limit side effects.

For most adults, long-acting stimulants -- such as Adderall XR, Concerta, Daytrana, Focalin XR, and Vyvanse -- work best. They last 10-14 hours, so you don’t have to remember to take as many pills. Plus, your symptoms usually improve more smoothly.

Once you get the dosage right, you’ll have regular follow-ups with your doctor. You’ll likely need to stay on medication, but some adults may be able to stop. Your doctor may suggest:

  • Going off the meds once a year to see if you still need them.
  • Taking a drug holiday so your body doesn’t get too used to it. Otherwise, you might need a higher dose.

From: Adult ADHD: Treatment Overview WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Treatment of adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.”

HelpGuide.org: “ADHD in Adults.”

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): “Treatment, Medication Management, Coaching.”

American Family Physician: “Diagnosis and Management of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults.”

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on June 20, 2019

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Treatment of adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.”

HelpGuide.org: “ADHD in Adults.”

Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD): “Treatment, Medication Management, Coaching.”

American Family Physician: “Diagnosis and Management of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults.”

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on June 20, 2019

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How long do I need to take ADHD meds as an adult?

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