Website Search
ID 1290

Medications for Adult ADHD

A look at some of the medications used to treat adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Currently, only two drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating ADHD in adults: Strattera (atomoxetine), a nonstimulant medication, and the stimulant Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts). Another stimulant, Ritalin (methylphenidate), the most commonly used drug for treating childhood ADHD, has not yet been approved for use in adults. However, both Ritalin and extended-release, or long-acting, methylphenidate (Concerta) appear to be safe and effective for treating ADHD in adults, according to several randomized controlled trials. A transdermal (skin patch) version of methylphenidate is also being developed and appears safe and effective in preliminary studies. There is also increasing evidence that the nonstimulant drug guanfacine can ameliorate the symptoms of ADHD in some patients. Other medications currently being studied for possible use in adult ADHD include: Bupropion (presently approved for depression and smoking cessation). Tricyclic antidepressants. Various cholinergic, catecholaminergic, and nicotinic agents. Timothy Wilens, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, says all medications (both stimulants and nonstimulants) now used to treat ADHD are generally well tolerated by most subjects, with dry mouth, reduced appetite, and mild increases in blood pressure the most common side effects.
adhd, adult, attention, deficit, hyperactivity disorder, medication, drug, pharmacology, amphetamine, strattera, atomoxetine, adderall stimulant, ritalin, methylphenidate, concerta, bupropion, choline, catecholamine, nicotine, dana, foundation
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related content:

2166. Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera - ADHD medications
Professor Philip Shaw discusses some medications use to treat ADHD, which lead to improvements in up to 90% of children.
879. Background to ADHD
All children have occasional trouble paying attention or suppressing their impulses. ADHD is a chronic condition, however, and its main symptoms have a larger effect on people’s lives.
1149. Noradrenaline (Norepinephrine) and ADHD
Professor Trevor Robbins discusses whether ADHD is a disorder of the noradrenaline system.
1199. ADHD - Noradrenaline and Dopamine
Professor Trevor Robbins discusses ADHD in relation to noradrenaline and dopamine, both of which are enhanced by ADHD medications such as Ritalin.
2224. ADHD
An overview of ADHD-related content on Genes to Cognition Online.
836. Ethics of Enhancement (1)
As drugs for cognitive disorders improve, so does the temptation to use them even when one does not have a cognitive disorder?
2170. Clinical/behavioral treatments for ADHD
Professor Philip Shaw discusses some clinical and behavioral treatments for ADHD, which may work best when combined with medication.
1294. Ethics of Enhancement (2)
The Dana review examines the ethical issues relating to 'smart' drugs that may enhance brain function.
1144. Drugs to Improve Cognition?
Professor Trevor Robbins discusses whether or not drugs have the potential to improve cognition.
2399. New Perspectives on Neurotransmitter Malfunction
Doctor Randy Blakely speculates that the traditional view that drugs though to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain may work by preventing a backward-running state.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationPublic EventsNewsstandPartner With UsGiving