What to Look Out For

  1. Your clinician should have specific training and experience with the medications that are being prescribed in children, not just adults.
  2. Medications for your child should not be prescribed by two different doctors, unless they are coordinating their care and communicating with each other closely. If there are two doctors on your child’s treatment team, one should take the lead.
  3. Whenever a medication is introduced, you doctor should clearly explain what it is. She should also identify the symptoms it is expected to treat, and how you will measure whether the medication is helping your child.
  4. With any new medication, your doctor should explain what side effects to watch for, as well as anything that might indicate that your child is having a bad reaction.
  5. If a medication isn’t working, or is barely helping, it can also be a sign that the disorder has been wrongly diagnosed. It’s important that your doctor reevaluate the diagnosis, and the treatment, before adding other medications.
  6. Before a child begins taking a second medication, other supports should be explored. For instance, research has shown that stimulant medications for ADHD can be effective at lower doses when they are combined with behavioral treatments.
  7. If your child is experiencing side effects from one medication, it’s advisable to explore either cutting back on the dose or switching medications before adding another med to treat side effects.