Pharmacological Interventions

Children and adolescents with ADHD usually require multiple interventions to address their difficulties. It has been shown that pharmacological interventions can help improve functioning in children and adolescents with ADHD.

Guidelines for considering a medication trial:

  • Given the prevalence of ADHD and its responsiveness to stimulant medication, primary care providers may consider a medication trial. Ongoing communication with the child’s or adolescent’s family and school (following guidelines for confidentiality) via mechanisms such as rating scales is essential in monitoring a child’s or adolescent’s response to medications.
  • Children and adolescents who do not respond to a stimulant trial, who experience adverse effects, or who show evidence of mood or anxiety symptoms, substance abuse, developmental delays, tic disorders, or significant family stress may be complicated to treat.
  • Some primary care providers feel comfortable treating children and adolescents with ADHD complicated by other associated problems. For those who do not, referral to a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, child neurologist, or child psychiatrist is recommended.

Additional Information About Medications and ADHD Treatment