Commonly Used Medications for ADHD

Many children with ADHD are prescribed stimulant medication to help reduce their symptoms. There are two main classes of stimulant ADHD medications:

  • Methylphenidate-based medications: Ritalin, Methylin, Concerta, Metadate, Daytrana Patch, Ritalin LA
  • Dextroamphetamine-based medications: Adderall, Vyvanse, Dexedrine, Focalin

There are also many different release formulas for stimulant medications, which make them effective for different periods of time:

  • Immediate-release formulas are effective for about four to six hours.
  • Extended-release formulas last as long as nine to twelve hours.

Children taking immediate-release formulas are often given medication in the middle of the school day by a school nurse. The goal is to maintain an effective dose during the school day but have the ADHD medication out of the child’s system by bedtime, to facilitate sleep.