Mixing Medications: Stimulants and Nonstimulants

Filed Under: ADHD Medication and Children, ADHD Stimulant Medications, Nonstimulant ADHD Medications

Q:

"My 11-year-old son was diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed Strattera. We didn't see much effect after two months, and the 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).
A:

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 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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