Stimulant Medications for the Treatment of ADHD

This comprehensive chart, created by Dr. Andrew Adesman at Northwell Health, compares and contrasts the stimulant medications — both short- and long-acting preparations — used to treat attention deficit disorder in adults and children.

The stimulant medications used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADHD) come in short-acting and long-acting preparations. Choose one of those, and you still need to determine whether methylphenidate or amphetamine makes the most sense for you. Whittle it down that far, and you still must find the optimal delivery method:

  • Liquid
  • Chewable
  • Orally disintegrating tablet
  • Sprinkle
  • Transdermal patch
  • Crushable
  • Capsule
  • Tablet

ADHD treatment options can feel overwhelming, which is why Dr. Andrew Adesman, Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, part of Northwell Health, and member of the ADDitude medical advisory panel, created The ADHD Medication Guide©, an easy-to-read chart laying out all of your stimulant medication choices.  The ADHD Medication Guide© and are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Please consult your medical professional regarding the use of any medication.

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Disclaimer: The ADHD Medication Guide was created by Dr. Andrew Adesman of Northwell Health, Inc. Northwell Health is not affiliated with the owner nor is an owner of any of the medications or brands referenced in this Guide. No endorsement or affiliation exists between Northwell Heath and the owner of the medications or brands. The ADHD Medication Guide is a visual aid for professionals caring for individuals with ADHD. The Guide includes only medications indicated by the FDA for the treatment of ADHD. In clinical practice, this guide may be used to assist patients in identifying medications previously tried, and may allow clinicians to identify ADHD medication options for the future. Practitioners should refer to the FDA-approved product information to learn more about each medication. Although every effort has been made to depict the true size and color of each medication depicted, we cannot guarantee there are not minor distortions. This Guide should not be used as an exclusive basis for decision-making. The user understands and accepts that if Northwell Health were to accept the risk of harm to the user from use of this Guide, it would not be able to make the Guide available because the cost to cover the risk of harm to all users would be too great. Thus, use of this ADHD Medication Guide is strictly voluntary and at the user’s sole risk. Copyright 2006, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 by Northwell Health, Inc., New Hyde Park, New York. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the ADHD Medication Guide or the creation of derivative works is not permitted without the written permission of Northwell Health. The sale of this Guide is strictly forbidden. Send inquiries to Office of Legal Affairs, Northwell Health, 2000 Marcus Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11042. This Guide is accurate as of June 1, 2023.

NOTE: This resource is for personal use only.