Hi, I’m a 29 year old graduate student, I take concerta and I was recently looking into this.
There is one brand name drug and one “authorized generic” that are totally identical. There were two generics that were found not to be bioequivalent (basically: does the drug work the same way in the body), and about a year ago the FDA proposed taking them off the market. I couldn’t find any new information, but if what the FDA proposed went through, those generics are no longer on the market anyway. If you’re concerned, ask your pharmacist which company is making the drugs – the 2 authorized ones are Actavis and Janssen. And if you do ask your doctor to write for the brand name, make sure your insurance will cover it. I also want to mention that the two other generics weren’t *harmful*, they just weren’t as effective as the brand name drug.
I took concerta for some time as a kid, but I don’t remember how I reacted to it then. Taking it now, I can say that I definitely have withdrawal on days when I don’t take it – basically I just feel really sleepy starting in the afternoon. If I’m doing something pretty active I can work through it, but if I’m just sitting around at home I’ll usually take a nap. I don’t like taking breaks most of the time anyway, because on my “days off” I still have to be able to run errands and be productive elsewhere in my life – but maybe that’s not as much of a problem for a 7-year-old! 😉 If early sleepiness is your daughter’s problem in the afternoons and evenings when it’s wearing off, some people are prescribed a small dose of ritalin (the short acting version of concerta) to get them through the last few hours of the day. It might make it harder to go to sleep if she takes it too late, though.
As for your family’s concerns – you’re definitely not giving her brain damage. In fact, a lot of studies are showing that all kids with ADHD have certain changes in their brains, but that these changes are CORRECTED with stimulant use!
Stimulants have done me so much good. ADHD affects every aspect of my life, from school, to my relationships, to my ability to do laundry more than 6 times a year, to financial responsibility…I could keep listing them for paragraphs. If Concerta isn’t working for your daughter, talk to her doctor about trying something else. And if you really don’t want her on any medication, or if she hates how she feels with everything she takes, then you don’t have to give it to her. But never feel like you’re doing something wrong by giving it to her. You’re working to help her build her future. You’re giving her a chance to be successful. Never feel bad about that! 🙂