I saw a child who, after receiving extensive evaluation, was diagnosed with inattentive attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When I talked with his mother about starting him on the 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 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 ADHD?
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List: More ADHD Stimulant Medications