Trying Medications for ADD ADHD — ADD Tip o the Day 523

ADD ADHD medication question:

Recently posted:

“My doctor is prescribing buproprion for adhd. Is this experimental? Am I a Guinea Pig?” 

  •  My response:
     buproprion is a well known antidepressant that works on the same neurotransmitters as the stimulants, and is sometimes effective for ADD. If it works for you, it is probably a better choice than the stimulants. It is “experimental” only on you – we never know what the right medicine, or the right dose, or the right scheduling is going to be until we try it.
     In that sense, I guess we’re all “guinea pigs”, but probably the only place that term would really apply is if you are in a drug study, in which case you would have been given a lot of information and signed a lot of forms so that you would have “informed consent”.Buproprion (Wellbutrin)  is a good medicine, and I hope it works for you; again, it might take some adjusting of the dose and timing.
    Best wishes ,
    The bottom line:
    Everyone is different. Some people need the medicines, such as Ritalin, Adderall, buproprion, Vyvanse, Daytrana, etc., and some don’t.   Some people do very well with them, and some don’t.  The choice of medicines, the dosing, the scheduling, all has to be tailored for the individual, and you’ll never know until you try.
    Bonus tip:
    Some people do very well on the medicine and think everybody should take it.         Some people have a terrible experience with it and think no one should take it.
    These are examples of over generalizing.
    Other posts on medications:
    ADD,ADHD,adult ADD,adult ADHD,stimulants, ADD and medicine,ADHD and medicine, ritalin, adderal,vyvanse,daytrana, buproprion

    I used to be very different.

About doug with ADHD

I am a psychiatric physician. I learned I have ADHD at age 64, and then wrote two ADHD books for adults, focusing on strategies for making your life better. I just published my first novel, Alma Means Soul. Your Life Can Be Better; strategies for adults with ADD/ADHD available at, or (for e books) Living Daily With Adult ADD or ADHD: 365 Tips O the Day ( e-book). This is one tip at a time, one page at a time, at your own pace. It's meant to last a year. As a child, I was a bully. Then there was a transformation. Now I am committed to helping people instead abusing them. The Bully was published in January, 2016. It's in print or e book, on Amazon.
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12 Responses to Trying Medications for ADD ADHD — ADD Tip o the Day 523

  1. Cindy Bahl says:

    Good information. I also try to remind people that it is more likely than not that they may need to try out more than one medicine. Or, at least, adjust the dosage of that medicine they begin on. I try to pass this along not only to those newly diagnosed with ADHD and looking at taking meds, but also those taking meds for anxiety and depression. They need to know that there are so many variables, the doctors do their best. They have a protocol (for depression, at least) of what to try out first and at what dosage and so on. And is not unusual to try 3-4 meds for depression before finding one that works for you. And even after it begins to work? Things can change down the road. Like 5 or 10 years later, for example. The anti-depressant (or whatever med) is no longer doing what it needs to do for you. Some have theorized that this is because your body gets used to it and the med because less effective. But the truth is our lives are always changing. What other meds we take will change. What we eat, the stressors in our lives, and so much more. All of this can cause a med to not work as well anymore. Either the dosage needs to be raised or a try a new med. It’s just the reality of life. I think that if people were told this up front, they wouldn’t quickly become hopeless when having to try more than one med to help them.


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  6. chet- yes, there is a big concern abut misuse of stimulants in college.
    i am puzzled-it seems to me that the evidence is more that the stimulants dont help students who dont have ADD ADHD, yet it they’re using them they must think they help.
    maybe they just help them stay awake while they cram (one of the least effective ways to study)???
    your thoughts?
    as always, thank you for commenting


  7. Chet, if you hold ‘exercise’ to the same standard for measuring side effects as medications, exercise has more side effects, and they are worse than those of medications. There are dozens of deaths and hundreds of thousands of ER visits annually for ‘side effects’ of exercise.

    Further, exercise effects on attention are also temporary. Vigorous exercise for 45 minutes gives about 6 hours improvements in attention and recall. Two to three doses of exercise a day hasn’t been tested like repeat dosing has for stimulants.

    Also, just to be clear, stimulants *are* class II, but are *not* narcotics.

    If it sounds like I’m dissing exercise, I’m not. I’m a huge proponent of daily exercise for everybody with or without ADHD. I just think it’s wrong to give exercise an uncritical free pass when it’s side effect profile is actually more daunting than physician-prescribed stimulants.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Chet – in praise of exercise: i think it is one of the best things anyone can do for themselves, especially if we have ADD ADHD. For us it is a basic therapy. some people,also need medication – me for example. I think the addiction/habituation/abuse rates are quite low from what I read. do you have any statistics on this?
    thank you for commenting


    • Anonymous says:

      Habituation (Addiction) could be a problem when narcotics are being prescribed for treating a problem. Definition: Addict 1. (Psychiatry) (often foll by: to) to cause (someone or oneself) to become dependent (on something, esp a narcotic drug)

      You re correct about the low abuse rates for psycho-stimulant treatment of ADHD.
      A new concern, relating to stimulant abuse, are College Students using stimulants
      to help them to cram for exams. There are several “off label” uses approved for stimulant medications, but “course review enhancement” is not one of them.



  9. Anonymous says:

    Doug, The biggest problem with ADHD Stimulant medications is that they are class II narcotics and have undesirable side effects. They work by stopping the re-uptake of the neurotransmitter Dopamine back into the neuronal pre-synapse. This is only a temporary fix that can lead to habituation in some cases.

    There is a natural way to increase dopamine in the neuronal cleft without any side effects.
    It’s called exercise. It does not matter if you walk or run, it takes procedural memory recall to accomplish either one. Procedural memory recall increases several neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin, into your brain. While you are exercising think about those things or people that made a positive impression on you in your childhood.


    Liked by 1 person

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