Long-Term Effects of Stimulants

Q:

"My son has been taking a stimulant for two years. How much longer should he stay on it? I worry that taking the drug a long time may cause adverse effects."

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

Your son should stay on the medication as long as symptoms interfere with his success in school, at home, or socially. Some individuals “outgrow” ADHD in adolescence, but most continue to have symptoms throughout their lives. Stimulant medications have been used to treat ADHD since the 1950s. So far, we have found no adverse long-term effects.

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.
 
 
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