Ask the Experts

When ADHD Medicine Is Ineffective

“My 12-year-old was diagnosed with ADHD, and we’ve tried every ADHD medication on the market. Every three weeks, whichever one he’s taking loses its effectiveness, the psychiatrist increases the dose until we see side effects, then we try a different one. Any suggestions?”

When I have tried “every medication on the market” at different doses and find that none works for a patient, I ask myself several questions. Did I make the correct diagnosis? Could the patient have ADHD plus one of the related disorders, and do these symptoms make it appear the medication is ineffective? Have I tried any of the nonstimulant medications, or just stimulants? Explore these questions with your psychiatrist.

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