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ADHD Medications

Other names: ADD; Attention Deficit Disorder; Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); Childhood Hyperkinesis

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Feb 19, 2024.

Behavioral education should be considered as the first-line treatment for any case of ADHD, particularly in children aged less than 6 years of age, with mild symptoms, or if the family prefers this option over drug therapy. Pharmacological treatments for ADHD include stimulants, non-stimulants, clonidine, and antidepressants.

  • Stimulants. These are the most commonly prescribed treatments and work by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels. Available in immediate-release (short-acting) and extended-release forms. Examples include methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta), amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (Adderall) or lisdexafetamine (Vyvanse). These are controlled substances with potential side effects and a high abuse risk.
  • Non-stimulants work by increasing norepinephrine levels. They may be prescribed if stimulants are ineffective or have side effects but take longer to work (>3 weeks). Examples include atomoxetine (Strattera), and guanfacine (Intuniv). They are not controlled substances.
  • Clonidine (Kapvay)
  • Antidepressants. These are not specifically approved for ADHD but commonly prescribed. Examples include venlafaxine and fluoxetine

Drugs used to treat ADHD

The medications listed below are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Filter
Drug name Rating Reviews Activity ? Rx/OTC Pregnancy CSA Alcohol
Adderall 7.2 401 reviews for Adderall to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
amphetamine / dextroamphetamine systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Vyvanse 7.3 822 reviews for Vyvanse to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
lisdexamfetamine systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Strattera 5.2 511 reviews for Strattera to treat ADHD
Rx C N
Generic name:
atomoxetine systemic
Drug class:
adrenergic uptake inhibitors for ADHD
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Adderall XR 7.9 215 reviews for Adderall XR to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
amphetamine / dextroamphetamine systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Concerta 6.8 398 reviews for Concerta to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
methylphenidate systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
methylphenidate 7.0 888 reviews for methylphenidate to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
methylphenidate systemic
Brand names:
Concerta, Ritalin, Daytrana, Ritalin LA, Methylin, Quillivant XR, Metadate CD, Methylin ER, Jornay PM, Adhansia XR, Aptensio XR, Cotempla XR-ODT, QuilliChew ER, Relexxii
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Azstarys 7.7 31 reviews for Azstarys to treat ADHD
Rx 2
Generic name:
dexmethylphenidate / serdexmethylphenidate systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
dexmethylphenidate / serdexmethylphenidate 7.7 31 reviews for dexmethylphenidate / serdexmethylphenidate to treat ADHD
Rx 2
Generic name:
dexmethylphenidate / serdexmethylphenidate systemic
Brand name:
Azstarys
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
amphetamine / dextroamphetamine 6.8 976 reviews for amphetamine / dextroamphetamine to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
amphetamine / dextroamphetamine systemic
Brand names:
Adderall, Adderall XR, Mydayis
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Dexedrine 8.5 99 reviews for Dexedrine to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
dextroamphetamine systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Ritalin 6.8 174 reviews for Ritalin to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
methylphenidate systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
dextroamphetamine 8.3 218 reviews for dextroamphetamine to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
dextroamphetamine systemic
Brand names:
Dexedrine, ProCentra, Zenzedi, Xelstrym
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
bupropion Off-label 6.3 143 reviews for bupropion to treat ADHD
Rx C N X
Generic name:
bupropion systemic
Drug class:
miscellaneous antidepressants, smoking cessation agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Off-label:
Yes
clonidine 7.5 63 reviews for clonidine to treat ADHD
Rx C N X
Generic name:
clonidine systemic
Brand name:
Kapvay
Drug class:
antiadrenergic agents, centrally acting
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Desoxyn 9.3 40 reviews for Desoxyn to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
methamphetamine systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants, anorexiants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
guanfacine 5.9 272 reviews for guanfacine to treat ADHD
Rx B N X
Generic name:
guanfacine systemic
Brand name:
Intuniv
Drug class:
antiadrenergic agents, centrally acting
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Intuniv 6.3 160 reviews for Intuniv to treat ADHD
Rx B N X
Generic name:
guanfacine systemic
Drug class:
antiadrenergic agents, centrally acting
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
atomoxetine 5.2 603 reviews for atomoxetine to treat ADHD
Rx C N
Generic name:
atomoxetine systemic
Brand name:
Strattera
Drug class:
adrenergic uptake inhibitors for ADHD
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
lisdexamfetamine 7.3 863 reviews for lisdexamfetamine to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
lisdexamfetamine systemic
Brand name:
Vyvanse
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Focalin 5.7 136 reviews for Focalin to treat ADHD
Rx C 2
Generic name:
dexmethylphenidate systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Daytrana 8.3 74 reviews for Daytrana to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
methylphenidate systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Focalin XR 6.8 112 reviews for Focalin XR to treat ADHD
Rx C 2
Generic name:
dexmethylphenidate systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
amphetamine 6.4 133 reviews for amphetamine to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
amphetamine systemic
Brand names:
Evekeo, Adzenys ER, Adzenys XR-ODT, Dyanavel XR, Evekeo ODT
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
Ritalin LA 8.1 18 reviews for Ritalin LA to treat ADHD
Rx C 2 X
Generic name:
methylphenidate systemic
Drug class:
CNS stimulants
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
Prescribing Information
amantadine Off-label 7.2 10 reviews for amantadine to treat ADHD
Rx C N
Generic name:
amantadine systemic
Drug class:
adamantane antivirals, dopaminergic antiparkinsonism agents
For consumers:
dosage, interactions, side effects
For professionals:
AHFS DI Monograph, Prescribing Information
Off-label:
Yes

Frequently asked questions

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Topics under ADHD

Alternative treatments for ADHD

The following products are considered to be alternative treatments or natural remedies for ADHD. Their efficacy may not have been scientifically tested to the same degree as the drugs listed in the table above. However, there may be historical, cultural or anecdotal evidence linking their use to the treatment of ADHD.

Legend

Rating For ratings, users were asked how effective they found the medicine while considering positive/adverse effects and ease of use (1 = not effective, 10 = most effective).
Activity Activity is based on recent site visitor activity relative to other medications in the list.
Rx Prescription only.
OTC Over-the-counter.
Rx/OTC Prescription or Over-the-counter.
Off-label This medication may not be approved by the FDA for the treatment of this condition.
EUA An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to authorize unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in a declared public health emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.
Expanded Access Expanded Access is a potential pathway for a patient with a serious or immediately life-threatening disease or condition to gain access to an investigational medical product (drug, biologic, or medical device) for treatment outside of clinical trials when no comparable or satisfactory alternative therapy options are available.
Pregnancy Category
A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters).
B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.
C Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
D There is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience or studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks.
X Studies in animals or humans have demonstrated fetal abnormalities and/or there is positive evidence of human fetal risk based on adverse reaction data from investigational or marketing experience, and the risks involved in use in pregnant women clearly outweigh potential benefits.
N FDA has not classified the drug.
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule
M The drug has multiple schedules. The schedule may depend on the exact dosage form or strength of the medication.
U CSA Schedule is unknown.
N Is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.
1 Has a high potential for abuse. Has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. There is a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
2 Has a high potential for abuse. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. Abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
3 Has a potential for abuse less than those in schedules 1 and 2. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
4 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 3. It has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 3.
5 Has a low potential for abuse relative to those in schedule 4. Has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Abuse may lead to limited physical dependence or psychological dependence relative to those in schedule 4.
Alcohol
X Interacts with Alcohol.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.