There is no cure for ADHD. The best that ADHD medication can do is to reduce the degree of hyperactivity and impulsiveness among children, allowing them to concentrate more on their work.
The common medication prescribed by doctors is stimulants. These stimulants work by regulating the levels of dopamine released by the body. Some of the drugs approved by FDA are Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin SR, and Ritalin LA.
The doctors need to regulate the dosage carefully. It is not necessary that a drug that worked well with one child may work with your child too. Also the drugs have a specific age limit. Some drugs like Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine) and Dextrostat (dextroamphetamine) can be taken by children who are above three years. Other drugs like Ritalin (methylphenidate), Concerta (methylphenidate) is to be given to children who are six years and older.
Minor side-effects like nausea, vomiting or mild headaches can be experienced by the child. These side-effects are most noticeable when the child starts medication; after that they subside. Another fear that parents have is that the children might get addicted to these stimulants. However, doctors refute these fears. According to them, the chances of getting addicted to ADHD drugs are low, provided they are taken as prescribed.
It is, however, necessary to constantly monitor the effects of the drugs. You should consult the doctor immediately if your child complains of feeling “high” or the medicine fails to produce any substantial effect. The doctor can then change the drug or change the dosage. In rare cases the doctor may even prescribe off label drugs.
Off label drugs are usually prescribed to adults and have not been tested in children. Studies have shown that most ADHD children who are on drugs do not take to hard drugs as teenagers.
The drugs work best when they are supported by counseling and support from parents and friends.