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Home > Health Library > Starting Medicines for ADHD: How to Care for Your Child
Medicines for ADHD may help your child be more calm and focused. Stimulant medicines are often used to treat ADHD. If they don't work, your child's doctor might prescribe a nonstimulant medicine. Nonstimulants may be used alone or along with stimulants. Here are some ways to care for your child if your child is starting medicines for ADHD.
Let the doctor know if your child has any heart problems or heart defects or if there is a family history of these problems. This may affect what type of medicine the doctor prescribes for your child.
Many side effects will go away after your child takes the medicine for a few weeks. If they don't go away, the doctor may need to adjust the dose or timing of the medicine. Or the doctor may need to change the medicine.
For example, if your child has trouble sleeping, try keeping the bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Or if your child has an upset stomach, they may need to eat smaller meals throughout the day. Ask your child's doctor for more ways to manage mild side effects.
If your child misses a dose, don't give a double dose. Don't stop giving your child the medicine. If you want to stop or reduce your child's use of the medicine, talk to the doctor first.
Some medicines start working quickly. Others may take several weeks. Ask the doctor when you might notice any changes in your child. Your child may:
Tell the teacher about your child's medicines. Ask for progress reports on how your child is doing in class.
And let the doctor know if the medicine stops working too early in the day. The doctor may need to adjust the dose or timing of the medicine. Or your child may need to try several different medicines. It can take a while to find the medicine and dosage that works best. Your child also may need to be checked for other health conditions.
Seeing a counselor along with taking the medicine can help your child. Ask your child's doctor for a referral.
If you feel that your child might hurt themself, get help right away. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Or text HOME to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line.
Current as of:
November 29, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral HealthLesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: November 29, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral Health & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
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