ADHD Medication Chart

WebMD Medical ReferenceReviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on June 06, 2018

Short-Acting Stimulants

Side effects of these medicationsinclude some loss of appetite,weight losssleep problems, irritability, tics. They require frequent dosing.

The FDA has issued a warning about the risk of drug abuse with amphetamine stimulants. FDA safety advisors are also concerned about the possibility that all amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants used for ADHD may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems.

Drug Name
Brand Name
Duration
4-6 hours
Dextroamphetamine
Zenzedi
3-4 hours
Dextroamphetamine and amphetamine
4-6 hours
Dexmethylphenidate
4-6 hours
Methylin,Ritalin
3-4 hours

Intermediate and Long-Acting Stimulants

Side effects of these medications include loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, and tics. Long-acting medicines may have greater effects on appetite and sleep. The FDA has issued a warning about the risk of drug abuse with amphetamine stimulants. FDA safety advisors are also concerned about the possibility that all amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants used for ADHD may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems.

Drug Name
Brand Name
Duration
Notes
Amphetamine sulfate Dyanavel 8-12 hours Oral solution/liquid
Amphetamine sulfate Evekeo 6 hours  
Dextroamphetamine Dexedrine Spansule 6-8 hours  
Dextroamphetamine and amphetamine Adderall XR 8-12 hours  
Dextroamphetamine and amphetamine Mydayis 12 hours  
Dexmethylophenidate
Focalin XR
6-10 hours
 
10-12 hours
 
Lisdexamfetamine
Vyvanse chewable
10-12 hours
Chewable tablet
Methylphenidate Aptensio XR 10-12 hours  
Methylphenidate Concerta 8-12 hours  
Methylphenidate Cotempla XR ODT 8-12 hours Oral disintegrating tablet/dissolvable
Methylphenidate Daytrana Transdermal patch Up to 10 hours May cause skin irritation or discoloration
Methylphenidate Metadate CD, Ritalin LA 8-10 hours  
Methylphenidate Metadate ER, Methylin ER 6-8 hours  
Methylphenidate Ritalin SR 4-8 hours  
Methylphenidate Quilichew ER

12 hours

Chewable tablet
Methylphenidate Quillivant XR 10-12 hours Oral solution/liquid

Nonstimulants

Drug Name
Brand Name
Duration
Notes
24 hours
Sleep problems, anxiety,fatigueupset stomachdizziness,dry mouth. Although rare, can causeliver damage. Increased risk ofsuicide in adults aged 18-24.
4-6 hours
Fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, behavior problems,low blood pressure. Stopping this medicine suddenly can result in high blood pressure.
Clonidine
Catapres-TTS patch
Up to 7 days
Fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, behavior problems, low blood pressure. Stopping this medicine suddenly can result in high blood pressure.
Clonidine
Kapvay
12 hours
Fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, behavior problems, low blood pressure. Stopping this medicine suddenly can result in high blood pressure.
24 hours
Fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, behavior problems, low blood pressure. Stopping this medicine suddenly can result in high blood pressure.
Guanfacine Tenex 6-8 hours Fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, behavior problems, lowblood pressure. Stopping this medicine suddenly can result in high blood pressure.

Antidepressants

Side effects include sleep problems. The FDA has also issued a warning about a connection between antidepressants and an increased risk of suicide in adults ages 18-24, especially in the first one or two months.

Drug Name
Brand Name
Duration
Notes
4-5 hours
Headaches. Although rare, may increase risk of seizures.
Bupropion
Wellbutrin SR
12 hours
Headaches. Although rare, may increase risk of seizures.
Bupropion
24 hours
Headaches. Although rare, may increase risk of seizures.
8-24 hours
Not recommended for children. Associated with rare cases of fatalheart problems.
8-24 hours
Anxiety, fatigue, upset stomach, dizziness, dry mouth, elevated heart rate, risk of heartarrhythmias.
Nortriptyline AventylPamelor 8-24 hours Anxiety, fatigue, upset stomach, dizziness, dry mouth, elevated heart rate, risk of heart arrhythmias.

ADHD Medicines and Safety

Experts generally consider these medicines safe when they are monitored properly by a professional. Serious problems are rare. Discuss the risks and benefits of these drugs with your doctor.

Long-Term Risks of Adult ADHD Medications

You've seen your doctor and made the decision: It's time to get yourADHD under control. But you may wonder, is the medicine you need safe for the long haul?

If you're an adult, most of the long-term worry about ADHD meds has to do with the how they affect other conditions you have.

Your doctor will examine you, and together you can create a plan that keeps you healthy and helps your focus.

Heart Disease or High Blood Pressure

Some ADHD drugs are "stimulants." They can raise your blood pressure and speed up your heart rate. If you've already got an issue with your heart, these medicines could be risky. Watch out for:

Seizure or Irregular Heartbeat

Another ADHD medication, atomoxetine (Strattera), is not a stimulant, but it has been linked to seizures and irregular heartbeats. So the FDA suggests people with a history of those problems stay away from it.

Abuse or Addiction

Some people misuse ADHD stimulant drugs. They might crush the pills and snort them to get high, which can lead to a dangerous overdose.

If you don't have a history of substance abuse, it's unlikely you'll go down that road. But if you do, you could be at risk for misusing your ADHD drugs.

Talk to your doctor honestly about your past or current drug abuse. He can help you decide if ADHD drugs are OK for you.

Psychiatric Problems

ADHD drugs may be tied to some mental health issues, but it's rare. For instance, some people have reported behavior problems like aggression and hostility. Others say they developed symptoms of bipolar disorder.

The FDA has also warned that there's a slight risk that stimulant ADHD drugs could lead to mood swings or symptoms of psychosis -- like hearing things and paranoia.

Skin Discoloration

The methylphenidate transdermal system (Daytrana) skin patch has been associated with a skin condition known as chemical leukoderma. This condition causes permanent loss of skin pigmentation at the place where the patch is applied.

How to Weigh the Risks

Work with your doctor. Together you can decide if ADHD meds are safe for you.

Your doctor may want to run a few tests to see if you have conditions that might not mix well with ADHD drugs. For instance, he can check to see if you have high blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, or other kinds of heart disease.

Other conditions might bump up your risks from ADHD drugs. Tell your doctor if you have one of these:

Let him know if you're taking other medicines or supplements. Some could react badly with ADHD drugs.

Once you start taking your ADHD medicine, see your doctor for regular checkups to make sure you're not having any bad side effects.

Keep in mind, ADHD drugs are generally safe. The chance of serious problems is low. For lots of people, the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks.

WebMD Medical ReferenceReviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on September 29, 2016