Ask the Experts

Will Switching Medications Help My ADHD Symptoms?

“My doctor prescribed methylphenidate for my ADHD, and it didn’t do much for my most problematic symptoms. Would it make sense for me to try switching medications, perhaps to an amphetamine?”

pharmacy shelves full of ADHD medications - should you switch to a different medication?
illustration of pharmacy shelves full of ADHD medication options

This is a common experience, and switching medications may help. The statistics on medication response are:

> 70% will respond well to amphetamine

> 70% will respond well to methylphenidate

> 88% will respond well when a person tries both

That means that about 12 percent of people with ADHD do not get a positive response to either methylphenidate or amphetamine.

There is universal agreement among all of the standards of care for ADHD: 1) medication is the treatment of choice 2) an amphetamine and a methylphenidate delivery system should be tried before going to second-line agents, such as Strattera, Intuniv, or clonidine 3) the optimal medication and dose must be fine-tuned to the individual patient. Talk to your clinician about trying an amphetamine medication to see if it helps.

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