Same Med Time, Same Med Channel?


Is it appropriate to take stimulant medication on an as-needed basis? I've been taking it at the same time every day, but now that I’m in college, I need meds only while studying or during boring lecture classes.


Absolutely. People who struggle with the inattention and/or executive-function aspects of ADHD may need medication coverage only during times when focus and attention are important.

If you have classes at different times on different days, it doesn’t make sense to take your dose at the same time every morning. Stimulant medications start to work in 45 to 60 minutes, and they last for four hours, eight hours, or 10 to 12 hours, depending on the product.

Discuss your schedule with your prescribing physician.

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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