Worried about your child taking stimulant ADHD meds? There’s another option

Does your child have ADHD? 

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects approximately 6.1 million children (ages 2 through 17) in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. Around 60% of those diagnosed are treated with an ADHD medication. 

Prescription Treatment Options

First, do your research and figure out if a prescription option is needed. 

Then, learn about your options. When it comes to prescription medication, there are many options with big differences. For example, there are stimulant medications such as dextroamphetamine/amphetamine (Adderall) and then non-stimulant options such as atomoxetine (Strattera). If you’re a parent trying to decide the best option for your child, it’s important to understand the differences between these two types of medications.

Strattera is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It is a non-stimulant that works by increasing the amount of norepinephrine in the brain, which helps to increase attention while decreasing restlessness. 

By contrast, Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that can be addictive. It works by increasing dopamine levels in your brain, helping to reduce symptoms. 

Adderall vs. Strattera: How to Choose?

While Adderall tablets have been tested for safety in children age 3 and older, many parents are still concerned about their children taking the potentially-addictive medication. The good news is that there are non-stimulant alternatives such as atomoxetine (Strattera)

The chart below lays out some of the key differences between Adderall and Strattera

Adderall is considered a first-line medication for its effectiveness in treating ADHD. By contrast, Strattera is considered a second-line medication. It is not as effective as a stimulant like Adderall—however, it also doesn’t carry the risk of addiction. 

Ultimately, both medications can be effective treatments. It really depends on your child and what their doctor recommends. 

Jessica Nouhavandi