Stimulants for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Why It Is Used
Stimulants are considered for people with moderate to severe Reference attention deficit hyperactivity disorder Opens New Window (ADHD) who have difficulty in at least two different settings, such as school and home.Reference 1 Stimulant medicines with amphetamine, such as Adderall, that are used for the treatment of ADHD are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for children age 3 and older. Stimulant medicines with methylphenidate, such as Ritalin, are approved for children age 6 and older. A doctor may prescribe methylphenidate for a child under age 6 based on the child's specific needs.
- Methylphenidate (such as Concerta or Ritalin) is often the first choice for treating ADHD.
- Dextroamphetamine or the combination dextroamphetamine and amphetamine (Adderall) is usually the second choice when the person does not improve with methylphenidate. But either may be the preferred medicine for older children. The long-acting form of dextroamphetamine controls behavior for a longer period of time, so fewer doses are required during the day.
- The dextroamphetamine and amphetamine combination medicine (Adderall) is used when other stimulants have not improved symptoms or when the combination of medicines may be more helpful.
Stimulants may be used in people who have ADHD and who also have mood disorders, such as depression. The priority of which condition is treated first usually depends on which is thought to be the main disorder.
Stimulants may be used in adults when antidepressants fail to control ADHD symptoms. If antidepressants alone are not controlling symptoms, stimulants may be added.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: February 2, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics