Ask the Experts

Mixing Medications: Over-the-Counter and Stimulants

“My child takes medication for ADHD. Is it safe to take over-the-counter medications for colds at the same time as ADHD medications? Are there any combinations that would be unsafe?”

Most of the over-the-counter medications used to treat colds and fevers can be used safely while taking an ADHD drug. If you or your child takes an amphetamine (brand names Adderall, Dexedrine, and others), you may want to avoid antihistamines. Amphetamines may counteract the sedative effect of antihistamines, and this interaction could be dangerous.

You should also avoid mixing alkalinizing agents, or antacids, with amphetamines, as they can increase the absorption of the stimulant. Neither reaction appears to happen with methylphenidate (brand names Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, and others).