Advertisement

How does my doctor determine the right dose of my child's ADHD medication?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Based on reports from you and your child's teachers, your child's initial medication dose for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) depends on several factors. These include the severity of your child's behavior problems, possible side effects, and the likely efficacy of the treatment. As your child tolerates the medication, the doctor will keep adjusting the dose while observing its effects. The doctor may continue to increase the dose until the medication appears to have reached a plateau. This means that the medication suddenly stops improving the child's behavior and performance in school.

Unlike many medication dosages that are prescribed based on a child's weight, ADHD medications are prescribed based on efficacy and side effects. Your child's doctor will want to give your child the maximum dose possible that does not cause any troublesome side effects. Usually, the doctor will start at a low dose and slowly increase it until side effects start to appear. At that point, the doctor will adjust the dose back down until the side effects disappear.

Continue Learning about ADHD

Gain Control Over Negative Self-Talk
Gain Control Over Negative Self-Talk
“I'm so stupid.” “I'm always messing things up.” “No one ever wants to be with me.” For those with ADD, these types of negative beliefs are common....
Read More
Affirmation Important for Kids with ADHD
Affirmation Important for Kids with ADHD
Several years ago when Hank Aaron was asked, “What would you do differently if you played baseball today?” the always graceful home-run king (at the t...
Read More
How can the internet and cell phone worsen adult ADHD?
Dr. Sanam Hafeez, PsyDDr. Sanam Hafeez, PsyD
Adult ADHD is exacerbated by the internet and smart phone use; the excessive screen time is distract...
More Answers
What can I do for my teen with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
Diana MeeksDiana Meeks
Support your teen. Set clear rules for him or her to follow. Try not to punish your teen every time ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.