Switching to Stimulants


"I've been taking antidepressants for several years and am currently on Wellbutrin. Now my doctor says I have ADHD and wants me to go off the Wellbutrin and start taking a stimulant. How do I go about making the switch?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

Stimulants start working within an hour of ingestion and are eliminated from the body by the end of the specified duration (four hours, 12 hours, and so on).

In contrast, antidepressants can take weeks to build up to effective levels. If you decide to stop taking one, the dosage must be reduced gradually.

The length of time you'll need to taper off the Wellbutrin depends on how much you've been taking and how long you've been taking it. In general, it's safe to start taking a stimulant immediately, even during this transition period.

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.
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