Need Help Tapering Off Adderall for International Trip

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    • #135936

      I’m going on a trip to China in about a month and I just found out that Adderall is illegal there and ADHD pretty much doesn’t exist. My psychiatrist doesn’t have any available appointments because of the holidays. Other psychiatrists typically need a couple of appointments before they’ll start treatment, so that isn’t an option.

      I’m going to China in about a month and will stay there for a couple of weeks. I’ve been taking Adderall 20mg XR and 10mg IR daily for about half a year now. How do I taper or wean myself off while staying functional? Thanks.

    • #135943

      I’d still advise calling your doctor’s office and leaving a message to see if they can advise you on this. It’s an important question that you want real medical advice on.

      In general, stimulants don’t usually require a taper. There’s not much evidence for physiological dependence, though some people will cite a rebound of ADHD symptoms, fatigue, and loss of motivation when they stop taking their medications. If you’ve ever missed a dose in the past, you may already know if you have some of those symptoms or not.

      If you were going to taper, you may end up taking away the immediate release for a few days, and then stop the extended release after. Adderall burns through the system quickly, so that’s why there’s not much need to taper off. The medication is usually gone or below effective levels before you go to sleep at night. It’s not like an antidepressant that needs to build up over time; it’s there and then it’s not.

      Bottom line, still try to get a hold of your doctor and get their opinion. If you want other information, there are some good webinars on this site from Dr. William Dodson who explains a lot about stimulant medication.

      Good luck and safe travels!

    • #135953

      I am sorry you are having to think about this with all the extra stress and stimulation that happens around this time of year. I have found Adderall in any release to be effective for me. I discovered a new form of the medication that has IR, ER, and SR in it. Perhaps you could see if Mydayis is a legal drug in China. It would eliminate the need to take the two different doses each day, and it may be an acceptable alternative to Adderall laws in China. I was a Pharm Tech for years, and I took several classes of Pharmacology when I could not decide on a major in Pharmacy or Nursing. I personally would never say not to taper off a stimulant medication. Since it works on similar neurotransmitters as antidepressants, an abrupt stop could cause withdrawal symptoms including issues with your heart. There is also a chance you could start having panic and anxiety. So be weary about stopping any medication that has primary effects on the brain, heart, lungs, or diabetic meds. Your doctor may be able to work you in for a quit chat to determine what the best course if action would be for you in the next few months. I would check to see if Mydayis is a legal medication in China, and then if so you can call and ask if they would write you one prescription of a dose that would be a close equivalent to the two meds you take now. You may be able to get a coupon to try Mydayis for a low copay as well. They should at least tell you how to safely decrease your Adderall to avoid having issues of stopping it. I know my doctor would either work me in or communicate with me via telephone if I was dealing with the possibility of not being able to have my medication for a month. If yours won’t, perhaps it is time to switch doctors. Good luck and I hope you have a safe trip as well as find a good alternative for your medication.

    • #135985
      Penny Williams

      Your prescribing doctor needs to give you a plan for this. If there aren’t any appointments in your time frame, then call the office and explain your situation.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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