Medications for ADHD

Your guide to the most common ADHD medications.

The National Institute of Mental Health provides a list of medications used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Medications can be prescribed by M.D.s (usually a psychiatrist) and in some states also by clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and advanced psychiatric nurse specialists. Check with your state’s licensing agency for specifics.

Trade NameGeneric NameApproved Age
Adderallamphetamine3 and older
Adderall XRamphetamine (extended release)6 and older
Concertamethylphenidate (long acting)6 and older
Daytranamethylphenidate patch6 and older
Desoxynmethamphetamine hydrochloride6 and older
Dexedrinedextroamphetamine3 and older
Dextrostatdextroamphetamine3 and older
Focalindexmethylphenidate6 and older
Focalin XRdexmethylphenidate (extended release)6 and older
Metadate ERmethylphenidate (extended release)6 and older
Metadate CDmethylphenidate (extended release)6 and older
Methylinmethylphenidate (oral solution and chewable tablets)6 and older
Ritalinmethylphenidate6 and older
Ritalin SRmethylphenidate (extended release)6 and older
Ritalin LAmethylphenidate (long acting)6 and older
Stratteraatomoxetine6 and older
Vyvanselisdexamfetamine dimesylate6 and older

*Not all ADHD medications are approved for use in adults.

: “extended release” means the medication is released gradually so that a controlled amount enters the body over a period of time. “Long acting” means the medication stays in the body for a long time.

Over time, this list will grow, as researchers continue to develop new medications for ADHD. Medication guides for each of these medications are available from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Visit the National Institute of Mental Health for more information about ADHD.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest