I saw a child who, after receiving extensive evaluation, was diagnosed with inattentive attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD). When I talked with his mother about starting him on the ADD/ADHD stimulant medication methylphenidate, she asked, "Why not Vyvanse? That's the one that Ty Pennington takes, right? It works great for him!" I explained my reasons for prescribing methylphenidate, not Vyvanse, and realized that the flurry of ads for ADD/ADHD medications had confused her.
Dexedrine or Adderall? Concerta or Strattera?
Many parents and adults are similarly confused. The Food and Drug Administration requires that a medication be given a different name according to its form (capsule, tablet, liquid, patch) or release mechanism (released immediately or over an extended period of time). Here's an example: Ritalin is a tablet that is released immediately into the bloodstream and works for four hours. Ritalin LA, on the other hand, is a capsule that releases over a longer period of time and works for eight hours. Different names, even though both contain the same medicine — methylphenidate.
Before we go any further, I want to give you a quick refresher on why doctors prescribe stimulants for the condition.
Next: How Do Stimulant Medications Treat ADD/ADHD?
ADD/ADHD Medication Dosing
Confused About Concerta?
Same ADD/ADHD Medication, Different Forms
ADD/ADHD Stimulant Medication List: Which Is Best?
List: More ADD/ADHD Stimulant Medications
This article appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of ADDitude. SUBSCRIBE TODAY to ensure you don't miss a single issue.