Skipping Doses Can Be Dangerous for Some ADHD Adults

Filed Under: Strattera, ADD Meds: Dosing

Q:

My 20-year-old daughter, who has ADHD, skips her Strattera dose on weekends. She assured me it’s OK to do this, despite what her doctor says. Is it?

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

Your daughter should not skip her weekend dose of medication.

Stimulant medications become effective within an hour or so, and wear off within a given period of time, and so can be used on an “as needed” basis.

But Strattera, a non-stimulant ADHD medication (generic drug name Atomoxetine), works by building up to a therapeutic level in the body. This can take three weeks or longer, and the level must be maintained by taking the medication each day at around the same time.

If your daughter goes off the Strattera on weekends (or holidays), the level will drop and may take weeks to build back up.

Fine-Tuning Your ADHD Treatment Plan: How to End Side Effects Caused By Nonstimulant Medications

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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