7 signs your child’s ADHD medication needs fine-tuning

The road to finding the right ADHD medication for your child can be bumpy. So how do you know when it’s time to talk to your child’s prescriber? Here are seven signs that your child’s medication dosage may need to be adjusted.

1. Changes in focus later in the day

You may notice improved focus in the morning. But then your child seems to lose those benefits by early in the afternoon. If so, it might mean that the morning dose is wearing off too quickly.

2. Persistent weight loss

Your child keeps losing weight, even after the first few weeks. It may be that the ADHD medication keeps your child’s appetite down at lunchtime and for most of the afternoon and evening. Some kids have a slower metabolism. Or the dose may be too high.

3. Irritability

Your child seems too “wired” and irritable during most of the day when the medication is active. This might mean the dose is too high or it’s not a good medicine for your child.

4. Personality changes

ADHD medication isn’t supposed to change your child’s personality. You may notice that when the medication is active, your child’s focus is better. But if you also notice that your child’s personality seems different or “off,” the dose might be too high. Or the medication might not be a good fit.

5. Trouble with focus at homework time

Some kids function much better at school. But by late afternoon, they have a hard time getting homework done. If that’s what you’re seeing, your child may need a small “booster dose” to extend coverage.

6. “Crashing” during the day

Your child is very irritable, “wired,” or way too serious for several hours each day as the medication wears off. This may be a sign that the medication is dropping off too fast, causing a rebound effect. If so, a small dose of short-acting medicine about 30 minutes before the “crash” may help.

7. Trouble falling asleep

Your child may respond well to the medication during the day, but have trouble falling asleep. If you notice this, it could be a sign that your child’s ADHD medicine is lasting too long. Or your child may actually need a small dose of it closer to bedtime so they can focus on getting to sleep. Sometimes this extra dose helps to “turn off” the head.

Watch as an expert explains more about fine-tuning ADHD medication:

Learn more about ADHD medication. And see a graphic that shows how ADHD medication works.

Understood is not affiliated with any pharmaceutical company.


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