What is the first-line medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Updated: Oct 01, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Regarding medication for ADHD, stimulants are the first-line therapy and probably the most effective treatment.

All stimulants have similar efficacy but differ by dosing, duration of action, and adverse effect profiles in individual patients. Care should be made to start at the lowest dose and titrate up for clinical efficacy or to intolerance.

Targeted symptoms include impulsivity, distractibility, poor task adherence, hyperactivity, and lack of attention.

Some stimulants come in sustained-release preparations, which may decrease the number of total daily doses. Otherwise, dosing should be spaced every 4-6 hours.

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