Commonly Prescribed ADHD Medications for Kids

March 22, 2021 0


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or simply ADHD is a neurodevelopment disorder that first appears in early childhood. It is a common condition that affects millions of children of all ages. Without the appropriate ADHD medication for kids and proper treatment, the condition may continue way into adulthood.

Symptoms of ADHD vary by age and differ from child to child but the most common ones include hyperactivity, impulsiveness, inattention, constant fidgeting, and restlessness. 

If left untreated, ADHD can cause severe problems in your child. Your kid may have problems socializing, concentrating in class, and staying calm. To reduce these symptoms and improve the quality of life of your child, the use of ADHD medication for kids is always recommended.

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What Is the Best ADHD Medication for Kids?

The best ADHD medication for kids varies from child to child. What might work effectively for one child may not necessarily work for another child. A doctor must carry out various tests on your child to determine the best medication for him or her.

That notwithstanding, stimulants are no doubt the medication of choice for treating ADHD. They come in two main types namely methylphenidate and amphetamine, but we have other types like dextroamphetamine and dexmethylphenidate. The main active ingredients in methylphenidates are Ritalin and Concerta while the main active ingredients in amphetamines are Adderall and Vyvanse.

Both methylphenidates and amphetamines are effective in treating ADHD and they offer patients the same benefits while manifesting similar side effects. However, some kids may respond differently to each type of medication hence it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before using any treatment.


Types of ADHD in Children


What Is the Most Commonly Prescribed Medication for ADHD?

The number one most commonly prescribed medication for ADHD is Ritalin, which is methylphenidate. The drug is short-acting, meaning it starts working 30-45 minutes after ingesting the pill and it wears off after about 4-6 hours. This makes it the ideal and convenient ADHD medication for 5-year-old kids, older children, and young adolescents since it starts working immediately after administration.

The initial dosage of Ritalin is 5mg for young kids and 10mg for adolescents and adults respectively. Depending on the severity of the condition, your child may have to take the medication at least twice a day in the morning and after lunch to help them focus on their homework and other tasks at school.

You should never increase the dosage prescribed for your child before consulting a qualified physician. ADHD medications carry a few risks and they may pose several dangers to your child in case of an overdose.

Closely following Ritalin on the list of most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD are Vyvanse and Adderall. These two medications are renowned for their effectiveness, availability, and low side effects. 

While Adderall is a short-acting medication, Vyvanse is a long-acting drug, meaning it allows your child can stay calm and focused throughout the day without taking several doses.

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List of ADHD Medication for Children

Parents and caregivers of children with attention deficit disorder have a variety of options as far as choosing the right ADHD medication for their children. With all these options, your child may have to go through several tests to determine the ideal medication for the condition. 

Here is a list of the most common ADHD medications for children.

  • Ritalin
  • Ritalin LA
  • Concerta
  • Adderall
  • Adderall-XR
  • Vyvanse
  • Dexedrine
  • Dexedrine Spansule
  • Daytrana
  • Focalin
  • Focalin XR
  • Quillivant XR
  • Intuniv
  • Kapvay
  • Dextrostat
  • Methylin
  • Metadate CD
  • Strattera

What Do You Give a Child with ADHD?

Treatment for ADHD in children varies greatly. Some kids may require medication only while others may require behavioral therapy. Other children may need a combination of medication and behavior management to cope.

A good treatment plan for ADHD should include nutritious meals, learning new coping skills, regular play and exercise, and improving social skills. Adding ADHD medication to your child’s treatment plan can go a long way to improve their attention span, reduce hyperactivity, and control impulsive behavior.

What Is the Best ADHD Medication for a Child with Anxiety?

Anxiety and ADHD are distinct conditions but they often go hand in hand. Children with ADHD tend to be anxious and apprehensive most of the time. 

To treat anxiety disorder and ADHD, the doctor will probe the condition that affects your child the most. It if ADHD, the medication for the same might be enough to reduce anxiety in your child. Stimulants like Adderall and Vyvanse work well to treat ADHD and reduce anxiety in children.


ADHD Symptoms
Common ADHD Symptoms in Kids


Does ADHD Medication for Kids Have Side Effects?

Yes. All ADHD medications, including those recommended for kids, have side effects especially during the initial stages of treatment. The good news is that these side effects are mild and subside very fast as your child adjusts to their new medication. Examples of side effects associated with ADHD medication for kids are:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia or sleeping problems
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach upsets
  • Suicidal thoughts

Vyvanse Vs. Adderall: Which Is Better?

Vyvanse and Adderall are some of the most common ADHD medications for kids. Both drugs are effective and beneficial to children with ADD. The only difference between these stimulants is that Vyvanse is a long-acting medication while Adderall is a short-acting drug. 

Vyvanse takes about an hour or more to start working but it lasts in the bloodstream for 10 to 12 hours. This means your child does not require any other dose during the day. They can concentrate in class, play with other kids, and even do their homework without any problems.

Adderall is short-acting meaning it starts works within 30 minutes but only lasts for 4 to 6 hours. This means your child may require at least two doses during the day to stay calm and focus on various assigned tasks.

What Is the Closest Drug to Vyvanse?

The closest drug to Vyvanse is Concerta. Both drugs are long-acting and highly effective in ADHD treatment. Moreover, they belong to the same category of stimulants and interestingly manifest the same side effects.

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Should I Put My Kid on ADHD Medication?

There are so many myths and falsehoods about ADHD. Most of these misconceptions originate from moms against ADHD medication yet these falsehoods are not based on valid reasons. If your child has ADHD, it is best to put them on medication but only after consulting a qualified healthcare provider. The doctor will carry out some tests to determine the appropriate treatment options and ADHD medication ideal for your little one.

Treating ADHD in children can be manageable but only if you engage the right professionals. Mango Clinic can help you find the appropriate ADHD medication for your child through our passionate, approachable, child-friendly healthcare staff. 

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