Skipping Doses Can Be Dangerous for Some ADHD Adults


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).

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.

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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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