|Adult ADHD Home||ADHD at Work||ADHD Self Test|
|Love & Friendships||Manage Time & Money||ADHD Adult Blogs|
|Organization Help||Stress, Sleep, Health||Adult Support Groups|
|Apps & Gadgets||Inspirational Stories||Expert Answers|
|ADHD Parenting Home||Schedules & Time||Sample Routines|
|Discipline & Behavior||Teens & Young Adults||Sleep & Nutrition|
|ADHD Parenting Skills||Nutrition & Diet||Parenting Blogs|
|Friendships & Social Skills||Sports & Hobbies||Summer & Camps|
|ADHD Treatment Home||ADHD Medications||Medication Reviews||Adderall|
|Treating Your Child||Nutrition & Diet||Fish Oil Printable||Daytrana|
|Expert Q&As||Non-Medical Treatment||Find Professionals||Strattera|
|Behavior Therapy||Brain Training||Quillivant XR||Vyvanse|
|ADHD/LD School Home||IEP/504 Plan||Get Organized!|
|Summer Learning||Accommodations||For Teachers|
|Back to School||The 3 Rs||School Behavior|
|Homework Help||Is It LD?||High School & College|
|ADHD Diagnosis Home||ADHD & Women||Is it ADHD? Self Tests|
|Getting a Diagnosis||Is it a Related Condition?||Medical Q&As|
|ADHD Symptoms||Post Diagnosis Next Steps||Myths & Realities|
|Is it Learning Disabilities?||ADHD Treatment||ADHD Support Groups|
|Tools and Checklists|
|ADHD Topics A-Z|
|Share Your Story|
|Give a Gift|
|Buy Back Issues|
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.