How will I know if my child’s ADHD medication is working?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
With the help of your child's teachers and other important adults in their life, you and the doctor will be able to assess whether your child's ADHD medications have a positive effect. Your child's pediatrician or psychologist may be able to give you behavior checklists to use to monitor your child's progress. Bring these lists to your doctor visits, and discuss your child's progress. Your child's doctor may want to adjust the medication dosage based on these reports.

It is quite likely that ADHD medications can help your child. The National Resource Center for ADHD reports that ADHD stimulant medications work for 70% to 80% of children. However, the medication must be taken regularly, every day, for a child to experience regular, daily benefits.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

The only way to know if your child’s ADHD medications are working is to carefully monitor your child’s behavior to see how his symptoms change. Now we don’t mean you have to set up video cameras and keep binoculars around your neck and a notepad in your pocket to take careful notes like an animal behavior specialist. Also, keep in mind that it usually takes several weeks to get the right dose and start seeing improvement. If you don’t see any changes or are concerned about the medication, definitely get in touch with your child’s doctor. Remember, there are important side effects from these medicines, so do not accept them for you or your child or anyone you influence without a thorough discussion with at least two docs (we believe a second opinion is warranted for any medical treatment whose effects or duration is greater than three days, and absolutely if it is longer than 20 days).

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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.