5 Safety Rules for Using ADHD Medications

Deciding to treat ADHD symptoms with medication is not a cop out or a quick fix. Determining the right dosage of the right prescription is hard work. Follow these rules for dialing in the best treatment possible with the fewest side effects.

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Rule 2: Adjust the Dosage

Start at the lowest dose possible and adjust it upward if necessary.

Doctors start at the lowest dose to provide a baseline for how much more (if any) of the ADHD medicaiton the child needs. Because everyone has a unique response to medication and metabolizes it at a different rate, a physician may need to increase the dosage to arrive at an optimal dose.

Did You Know: Doctors typically adjust medication dosages every three to seven days.

Gender, height, and age aren’t reliable gauges as to how a child will respond to medication — nor is weight. Physicians do use weight as a starting point, though.

Starter Dosage: Kids who weigh under 60 pounds should start at 2.5 mg (half a tablet) of Ritalin two to three times per day, says Stephen C. Copps, M.D., director of Central Georgia’s Institute for Developmental Medicine in Macon, Georgia. Anyone over 60 pounds will start with 5 mg two to three times a day, four hours apart.

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TAGS: ADHD Medication and Children, ADHD Stimulant Medications, ADD Meds: Dosing

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