ADHD Adderall Drug Holidays for Children

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You actually wouldn't want Adderall or any stimulant medication in your system 24/7 or you would have a very hard time sleeping. So it is good if they are out of your system after 10 to 12 hours. However, this can make early mornings and late evenings difficult for many children with ADHD.

One option to manage this is to try a non-stimulant medication like Strattera. There is also another option that can at least make early mornings easier—Jornay, a methylphenidate-based stimulant given the evening before which is designed to release very slowly till the effect begins to be felt in the morning and then carries through till the late afternoon.

Pros and Cons of ADHD Drug Holidays

Since Adderall doesn't have to build up in your system from day to day, it is possible to give it on an as-needed basis. And some parents do choose to skip giving ADHD stimulant medications on weekends, holidays, summers, or other breaks from school.

The main problem with this strategy is that a child's ADHD symptoms won't be under control during those times. While that may not be a big problem if your child simply has some attentional problems that interfere with schoolwork. Not taking medication can become a bigger problem if they are also very impulsive and hyperactive.

ADHD symptoms can interfere with your child's behavior, relationships with family members, and how they do socially. That makes "drug holidays" less popular than they used to be.

Just as you likely did when you first started them on Adderall, when thinking about a drug holiday, make sure that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Remember that ADHD isn't usually just a school problem. If your child really functions better with medication, then it is probably a good idea to take it every day and not skip doses on weekends or other school holidays.

Side Effects of ADHD Medications

Appetite problems and poor weight gain can be big problems for some children taking stimulants. If their medication is working very well for them otherwise, not taking it on weekends can be a good idea so that they do eat better at those times.

On the other hand, some children do have more side effects on Mondays after being off their stimulant for the weekend, as they get used to it again, so be on the watch for that.

If you really think that they would benefit from taking their medicine on the weekend, but ​side effects are making that impractical, then you might talk to your pediatrician about adjusting their dose or trying something else. A different stimulant, like Concerta or Focalin XR, or a non-stimulant medication, like Strattera, might be better alternatives.

Although ADHD drug holidays were once popular, there are now so many different medications and dosages of each medication, that it is much easier to fine-tune a child's dose and avoid side effects than it used to be. That makes it easier to avoid ADHD drug holidays and allow your child to take their medication every day.

Discuss any concerns with your child's pediatrician and find the best medicine for your child.

Skipping a Dose of an ADHD Medication

In most cases, if you simply forget to give your child a dose of their ADHD stimulant one day, then you can usually just restart it the next day.

You do want to be careful that you don't give an extended-release stimulant, like Adderall XR, Concerta, or Focalin XR, etc., too late in the morning or afternoon, or your child will likely have a lot of trouble going to sleep that night. You also don't want to give an extra dose without talking to your pediatrician.

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