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The ADHD Medication Stopped Working! How to Troubleshoot Treatment

ADHD medication helps the vast majority of patients, but no one can predict which type, formulation, dosage, or timing for taking the medicine will best control symptoms for any individual. Trial and error is the key to finding out, and sometimes ADHD medication just stops working. Here, learn why — and how to troubleshoot common problems with meds.

4 Comments: The ADHD Medication Stopped Working! How to Troubleshoot Treatment

  1. Part of this article is incorrect:

    Adderall XR, for example, releases half of the capsule’s face value at a time. If you’re taking 10 milligrams of Adderall XR, it’s like getting five milligrams followed by another five milligrams three to five hours later.

    10mg XR is 10mg now and 10mg 3-5 hours later

  2. My Son started Vyvanse a few months ago and stopped taking it a month later he started because he was suffering of severe headaches that will not even let him concentrate at school. At this moment. He is asking to start something that doesn’t make him feel bad. We can’t go back to Focalin since second effect was being depressed. What should I do? I am very concern because my Son understand he needs medication but scared of them because is second effects. Any comment will be appreciate it!

  3. Hey there! Sorry no one has gotten back to you yet. The comments kind of get buried.

    So, I take the same medications as your son. Adderall XR in the morning and IR in the evening. The type of amphetamine really doesn’t matter for treatment purposes. No need for me to explain this since it has been quite effectively explained here:

    “Amphetamine exists in two isomers, dextroamphetamine and levoamphetamine. Think of the difference as being like that between your left and right hands–they’re pretty much the same, but they’re connected differently. In the case of amphetamine, the difference between ‘dextro’ and ‘levo’ is which way a single carbon atom is rotated on the molecule.

    This is a tiny chemical difference, but it’s significant for how amphetamine works. Just as you probably find that one hand is better for handwriting than the other, dextroamphetamine is involved much more heavily in the treatment of ADHD than levoamphetamine. Usually, some levoamphetamine is added to ADHD medications (including adderall) but not as much as dextroamphetamine.

    As for the “salts” bit–most drugs are rather tricky to work with normally. Amphetamine is an oily liquid that readily breaks down into medically useless chemicals. Salts are much more stable than other compounds, and the hydrochloride salt of amphetamine is a white solid that breaks down very slowly. It makes it possible to have amphetamine in pill form, and have a longer shelf life.”

    So with that understanding, we can move on. They are all salts as explained, even the Dextroamp you mention. The original Rx most likely contained Dextroamp as well, just in a different percentage. With Adderall it’s not difficult for a company to produce a generic version since unlike Concerta and it’s effective and patented time release system, it’s just needs to be some form of amphetamine. There are guidelines for % of “filler” ingredients and such that have to be followed, but generally Adderall is one of the easiest to create a generic for.

    OK, now we now that dextroamphetamine and the term amphetamine are one and the same and that “salts” simply means the form of the medication. To the point of the previous paragraph now! It’s not what’s listed as the drug on the label that matters (since it can vary depending on manufacturing process), it’s the manufacturer. Name brand Adderall is, in my opinion, a top notch medication. Most insurance requires you to get the generic form however. My XRs are made by Sandoz and seem to work fine. My IRs are made by Teva and besides name brand, have been the only effective ones for me.

    Pay attention to who makes them. That can make a huge difference. If you have several pharmacies in your area, call around and do not hesitate to ask them who they use.

    Vyvanse isn’t your only alternative. Focalin appears to be a very promising alternative if you decide to try something else.

  4. I don’t know if anyone can answer this question, but if you can please do. My son has been taking generic Adderall and Adderall XR for about six years now due to Vyvanse causing violent let-down symptoms. When he first started taking it, the label said “Amphetamine Salts”. A few years later it was replaced with “Dextroamphetamine” and stopped working as well at the same dose. According to the above table, it should be straight Amphetamine. Does anyone know if there was a formula change? We have a difficult time with the meds because he is already at the max dose allowed to be prescribed by law (despite as this article points out mental health medications are not dosed according to age or weight) and we don’t want to go back to Vyvanse if not necessary.

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