Mixing Medications: Stimulants and Nonstimulants


"My son was prescribed Strattera. We didn't see much effect after two months, so our doctor prescribed a stimulant, saying my son should take both from now on. Is this safe?"

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

Strattera often takes several weeks to start working. Doctors may prescribe both medications when switching from a stimulant to Strattera, then taper off the stimulant as the Strattera begins to work. Taking the two together during an adjustment period is quite common and is safe. However, it is not the usual practice to use both a stimulant and Strattera over the long term. Two months should be enough time to see an effect. If it's clear that Strattera is not working, it would be better to try something else instead of that medication, not in addition to it.

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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