|Adult ADHD Home||Organization Skills||ADHD in Women|
|Signs & Symptoms||ADHD Jobs||ADHD in College|
|Relationship Problems||Time Management||Young Adults|
|ADHD Apps & Tools||Health, Sleep, Stress||ADHD Adult Blogs|
|ADHD Parenting Home||Parenting Strategies||Talking About ADHD|
|Oppositional Defiant||Health & Nutrition||Sleep|
|Discipline Problems||Organization Skills||Routines That Work|
|ADHD Teens||Social Skills||Parenting Blogs|
|ADHD Treatment Home||Treating Your Child||Adderall|
|ADHD Medications||Side Effects||Daytrana|
|Alternative Treatments||Treatment Options||Strattera|
|The ADHD Diet||Medication Reviews||Vyvanse|
|ADHD/LD School Home||Organization Skills||Behavior at School|
|Teachers’ Guide||Sports & Activities||Working with School|
|School Accommodations||Learning Disabilities||High School|
|IEP/504 Plan||Homework Help||Working Memory|
|ADHD Diagnosis Home||ADHD Self Tests||Learning Disabilities|
|Signs of ADHD||Executive Function||Related Conditions|
|Types of ADHD||Getting a Diagnosis||ADHD Myths|
|Hypersensitivity||ADHD in Women||Anxiety & Depression|
|Find a Professional|
|Give a Gift|
Appropriate Dose of Medication
"My eight-year-old son is taking 17.5 mg of a slow-release stimulant, and has become very irritable. He weighs about 50 pounds. Is his dosage too high — and is this behavior change normal?"
The dose of an ADHD medication is not based on a child's age or body weight but on on how quickly each child with attention deficit disorder metabolizes the ADHD medication. Thus, some children need 5 mg and others need 10 mg or 15 mg or 20 mg. We start at a low dose and slowly increase it until we get good results. I suspect that this is what your family doctor did.
There are two side effects that indicate that the dose of a stimulant is too high. One is becoming emotionally fragile; he or she becomes more irritable or tearful. The other is becoming too focused; the child appears to be in a cloud or "spacey." Parents report that the medication flattened his or her personality and taken away humor. The fact that he is irritable on the current dose of Ritalin suggests that the dose needs to be decreased.
Larry Silver, M.D., is the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities. He is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C.