ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is an increasingly common neurological disorder. It affects children of all races and ethnicities, and more boys than girls and extends into adulthood.
Let’s talk about the four types of licensed ADHD medications and where you can go in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch, FL, to control the symptoms of this frustrating disorder.
What Is ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a brain-based condition that changes how a child, teen, or adult acts, socializes and learns. Often diagnosed by the age of seven in children, this neurological condition stems from a deficiency of three brain chemicals or neurotransmitters–adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin.
Due to the deficiency in neurotransmitters, certain behaviors begin to appear, including:
- Poor attention span and focus
- Risky behaviors
- Poor judgment skills
- Excessive talking and/or withdrawing socially
- Inability to concentrate and finish tasks (homework or job-related projects)
These deficits often lead to problems with family and friends and, in children, what people call “acting out.” Often, classroom disruption and poor grades lead parents to seek help from their family doctors, pediatricians, child psychiatrists, and behavior specialists.
What Are the Preferred Treatments for ADHD?
Most children identified with ADHD benefit from a combination of behavioral and cognitive therapies aimed at improving concentration and decreased activity levels. Additionally, many receive educational support and classroom modifications when parents pursue Individualized Education Plans, or IEPs, with their school districts.
Also, individuals with ADHD benefit from carefully regulated doses of prescription medications. These medications seem to boost the levels of the lacking brain chemicals or neurotransmitters, thus reducing impulsivity, restlessness, insomnia, and the poor focus ADHD causes. In fact, about 80 percent of ADHD youngsters show symptom improvement with medication therapy.
What Are The Four Types of Licensed ADHD Medications?
Most ADHD drugs are classed as stimulants. Although they may be short-acting or extended-release, your provider may have to adjust dosages or even change medications before arriving at the right one for your child. Florida law requires patients to been seen every 3 months by a provider for evaluation.
In general, these are the common types of licensed ADHD medications. Some have been used for years, and the names may be familiar to you.
Short-acting methylphenidate stimulants
The brand names are Ritalin and Concerta (methylphenidate) and Focalin (dexmethylphenidate). Their effectiveness lasts four to six hours.
Short-acting amphetamine stimulants
The brand name is Adderall or mixed amphetamine salts. Typically, its effects last 4 to 6 hours; however, Adderall also is available in an extended-release form which lasts 10 to 12 hours.
Long-acting amphetamine stimulants
Vyvanse, or Lisdexamfetamine, is an extended-release prescription drug that lasts 10 to 12 hours.
Long-acting methylphenidate stimulants
Concerta or Daytrana (skin patches) provide extended-release relief for ADHD symptoms for 10 to 12 hours.
As these medications require professional monitoring, your child’s doctor may wish you to bring him or her to the clinic periodically for a check-up. Side effects can include insomnia, weight loss, and appetite changes, so parents should note changes in their child’s behavior, physical performance, and well-being.
World-class Primary Care in Sarasota and Manatee County, FL
At Intercoastal Medical Group, we have 100-plus board-certified physicians at 9 locations, including internal medicine, family practice, and neurology. Please contact our office nearest you for questions about ADHD or other neurological disorders. You can also request a consultation with one of our providers online. We are dedicated to helping our patients, and their families live well with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.