How Parents Can Save Money on ADHD Medications

Woman helping young girl take medicine in bedroom
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While they are very convenient and work well for most children, once-a-day ADHD medicines can be rather expensive. Many families without insurance and prescription drug benefits cannot afford these medicines, which include Adderall XR, Daytrana, Concerta, or Vyvanse. Even with insurance coverage, high prices can be very taxing on a family budget.

Generic ADHD Medications

Choosing a generic medicine over a name-brand one is often a good way to save money on prescription drugs. Unfortunately, there are few inexpensive versions of these ADHD medicines that can be taken just once a day. There are generic versions of both Adderall and Ritalin, but they are short-acting and typically have to be taken at least twice a day.

If you or your child is able to take a generic version, you will likely pay (before insurance or any coupons):

  • Amphetamine salt combo (generic Adderall) $85 to $120 for 60 tablets
  • Methylphenidate (generic Ritalin) $75 to $90 for 60 tablets
  • Dexmethylphenidate (generic Focalin) $85 to $100 for 60 tablets
  • Amphetamine salt combo XR (generic Adderall XR) $180 to $200 for 30 capsules
  • Methylphenidate ER (generic Concerta) $250 for 30 tablets
  • Dexmethylphenidate XR (generic Focalin XR) $200 for 30 capsules

Still, these are all bargains when you consider that a month of Vyvanse can cost well over $300.

Saving Money on ADHD Medication

In addition to choosing generic ADHD medication when you can, there are other money-saving strategies that may help.

Shop Around

Prices at different pharmacies can vary by $25 to $40 or more depending on the medication. Use a drug pricing site, such as GoodRx, to look for the best prices on your medications.

Ask Your Doctor for Help

Ask your pediatrician for a 90 day supply, which is sometimes a little cheaper (and also allows you to lock in a good price for three months if you find one). Talk with your doctor about avoiding name-brand ADHD medications without generics, such as Strattera, Vyvanse, Daytrana, and Quillivant XR. And remember that in some cases, your doctor can give you free samples of medicines so you can try them and see if they work for your child.

Look for Coupons or Patient Assistance Programs

Coupons are available for many name brand ADHD medications that don't have generic versions. You can find coupons on GoodRx or by checking the manufacturer's website. Manufacturers may have their own patient assistance programs, or you can check to see if you are eligible for a broader prescription assistance program, such as NeedyMeds.

Get a Prescription Discount Card

Prescription drug discount cards are similar to patient assistance programs in that they can help reduce the prices of many drugs you purchase. You can use them as a supplement to any insurance coverage you have and some, such as FamilyWize, are open to anyone, regardless of income.

Use Caution

Don't try to save money by ordering an ADHD medication from an illegal or foreign website, which will simply put your child at risk. In addition to getting scammed out of your money, you may receive a contaminated or counterfeit product, the wrong product, or an incorrect dose. Also avoid unproven or non-evidence based treatments, which will likely end up costing you more in the long run.

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