Managing Medications

Your Turn: “What would you tell fellow parents whose children take ADHD medication?”

ADDitude asked its readers: What would you tell fellow parents about ADHD medication for children?

ADHD treatment and medication tricks
ADHD treatment and medication tricks

You agonize over starting your child on meds — and you worry when he’s on them. But proactive parents, like you, can change all that. Here’s what our readers had to say about ADHD medication for children:

“Ask your child lots of questions about how he is doing on the medication. A casual conversation usually works: ‘How did you feel today? Did you feel different? Better? Worse?’ A parent’s observations are crucial. I could tell in three days whether a med worked for my son.”
—Mary, Texas

“Ask your pharmacy whether you can purchase only a couple of pills, instead of the entire prescription. ADHD medication is often trial and error, so why pay a lot for something that may not work?”
—DeMarious T. Shaw, Stoneville, North Carolina

[Free Download: A Parent’s Guide to ADHD Medications]

“Take notes. It’s difficult to remember all the behavior changes, sleep patterns, or side effects that your child is having while on medication. But writing everything down can help you track a drug’s effectiveness.”
—Julie, Vermont

“Let the doctor know about bad side effects. I had severe heartburn when I took Strattera. My doctor gave me a prescription for Zantac to combat it, and now Strattera works great.”
—Dawn Saunders, Columbus, Ohio

“As your child grows, his medication needs will change. If you see a shift in behavior at home or in his performance in school, it could very well be time to re-evaluate the treatment plan with your doctor.”
—Sheri Watson, Dublin, Ohio

“Don’t settle for a reduced quality of life. People with ADHD deserve to be their best. My daughter’s schoolwork improved on Metadate, but she seemed overly emotional and didn’t eat well. We switched her to Concerta, and she is happier than ever.”
—Sharon Watts, Buda, Texas

[Your Toughest ADHD Medication Questions, Answered!]

“Starting my son on medication was a huge decision — and finding one that works well enough, consistently, took more than two years! Parents need to be patient. Medication is no one’s favorite or perfect answer, but I decided, in the end, that meds were better for my son than having him feel bad about himself all the time.”
—Janet Wallenfang, Illinois

“I keep in contact with my son’s teachers. I use a weekly monitoring list and have both regular-ed and resource teachers fill it out. I pass along their comments about my son’s behavior to the doctor.”
—Diane Spriggs, Ashburn, Virginia

“Be persistent with your doctor about switching medication when you see things change for the worse. Although I understand a doctor’s reluctance to change medications too quickly, parents know their child best.”
—Jana and Kent Chapline, Everglade Mansfield, Texas

[Five Rules for Treating ADHD in Children with Stimulant Medications]

“If you think that a new regimen of drugs isn’t working as well as the previous one, call the doctor immediately. Don’t wait for your next appointment.”
—Lynn Sorrel, Covington, Tennessee

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