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"My son was taking a short-acting, stimulant medication, which improved his symptoms, but his doctor just switched him to a different brand at a much lower dose. Could there be a reason for the change in dosage?"
Clinically, there are very few differences between various types of stimulant medications. Some individuals respond better, require a lower dose, or may have fewer side effects with one than with another. We have to find out which is best for each person through clinical use.
If you are concerned about the switch, talk to the doctor who prescribed the new medication and remember that, as the parent, you are the ultimate judge. Observe your son for the next few weeks to see whether his ADHD symptoms improve to a greater extent than they did on the first type.
Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as 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.