Ask the Experts

Making the Switch: Trying a New ADHD Medication

Feel like your or your child’s ADHD medication isn’t the best choice? Learn how to transition to a new one, and why it’s trickier to switch from a non-stimulant to a stimulant.

stimulant and non-stimulant medications to treat ADHD
illustration of pills against a dark background

Are either you or your child managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with medication that doesn’t seem to be working quite right? Switching from one stimulant to another, or from a stimulant to a non-stimulant, is a pretty straightforward matter. Stimulants wear off rapidly, and they are completely eliminated from the body by the end of the specified duration (four, eight, or 12 hours). Thus, it is possible to stop a stimulant one day and start another stimulant (or non-stimulant) the next.

Switching from a non-stimulant is more complicated. Non-stimulants remain in the body for a long time, and the dosage must be reduced gradually, over several days.

In some cases, depending on the medications involved, it’s possible to start taking a new med as you phase out the old. In other cases, you must be completely off one med before starting the next. Your doctor will tell you how to make this transition.

Updated on April 24, 2017

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  1. As posted prior. 4 PLUS YEARS IS TOO MANY MEDICATIONS! END TO AN ARGUMENT! THERE IS NOT 1 VALID ARGUMENT! I’m 35 and live with TMS AND ADULT ADHD DIAGNOSED WHEN I WAS 6 OR 7 YRS. OF AGE. TMS is “Transverse Myelitis.” Which has SX’S THAT ARE BEING TREATED! SADLY, I WAS DONE With Psychiatrist’s! 5-7 YRS. Is too long! I did take matters in my own hands. I did try a medication I have been embarrassed about. IT WAS A GAME CHANGER! I STOPPED TAKING “GENERIC VYVANSE!” since ANYONE IN THE MEDICAL FIELD KNOWS “THERE IS NO SUCH THING.” WHEN A PERSON THAT IS LACKING FEELING TO SOME EXTENT IN THEIR BODY (MYSELF); IS ABLE TO FEEL WHAT A MEDICATION DOES! 7X! I’M TAKING MY LAST 2 ADDERALL 10 MG BLUE TABS TODAY! IT’S QUITE EMBARASSING THAT MY PSYCHIATRIST WANTED ME ON ALL SSRI’S SNRI’S SDRI SERI’S FINISHED! WHEN MY LAST MED HAD CATAPRESS, OR CLONIDINE IN THE COMPOUND! 10 MG OF ADDERALL OR L/D LEVA DOPA AMPHETAMINE SALTS HAS PROPELLED ME TO WORLD OF REAL DIFFERENCE. I DONT RECCOMEND BLACK MARKET. BUT SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE! IT SHOULDN’T TAKE 7 YEARS! With fish oils natural remediation, Stimulants with blood pressure additives to take away natural feelings of creativeness! LEXAPRO, STATINS, ALL MEDS THAT INTERFERE WITH PROGRESS. DAY 2 NO VYVANSE ADDERALL INSTEAD. IF IT WORKS TAKE IT! DO NOT MASK NATURAL FEELINGS! ESPECIALLY THAT ARE HEALTHY NATURAL ONES! GOD BLESS AND HE GOD WILL GIVE ME MY PURPOSE. NOW THE LIGHTBULB WENT ONN! ALIVE! NOT HIGH! GET SQUARE! BE REAL. WHERE’S THE COMPASSION? ESPECIALLY AFTER 7 YEARS OF TRIAL AND ERROR. REALLY? LITHIUM BICARBINATE? WOW. SINCERELY; A PSYCHOLOGY UNDERGRAD. I WILL NOT ATTEND COLLEGE IF IM NOT TREATED CORRECTLY! SAD BUT SOOOO TRUE! NOT LOOKING FOR A HIGH! AT 35 IM LOOKING FOR MY LIFE BACK!

    1. Hi GEFIIAdultADHD

      Your post has some very interesting points, but I am not quite understanding what you are trying to say. Please forgive me…. but can you explain in better detail? Generic adderall xr stopped working when the new group of meds came out in 2017. For years I had no issues… now it’s still a nightmare just to find anything that can get me through the day. I too have some serious issues with my spine…was diagnosed with DDD. Trying to find a medication that will work for me. Trying to help my doctor to understand that my dozens of mutated genes will not process just any generic medication with junk fillers that are working against me. My husband and I are at the point where we will pay full price for brand name with no junk fillers if we have to, due to bcbs not covering them. All of these formula changes are criminal! Taking our money and giving us crap that does not have therapeutic benefits.

      1. Hi Kreat 🙂

        I have had the same experience with my ADD meds. Generic does not work for me anymore.

        At first I thought it was just me having an off day ect but things did not get better. I decided to research the mfg of the generic meds and it was an eye opener. https://www.drugs.com/answers/mallinckrodt-adderall-teva-barr-adderall-30-mg-3451000.html

        I have not taken generic for over 2 years now and not had the feeling of “this is not working” since. I have had to up my dose over the years to smaller amounts more often throughout the day as oposed larger dose less.

        The downside is the cost, name brand is 2 to 2.5 times more even after insurance.

        I have been on ADD meds close to 23 years so I am not new to it 🙂

        Hope this helps you 🙂

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