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There are three types of medication for ADHD:

  • Methylphenidate hydrochloride

About: Methylphenidate comes in a number of different brands (Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, or Methylin) and is one of the most commonly used medications for ADHD in the UK. It is known as a psychostimulant or central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. It is not completely clear how Methylphenidate works, but it is thought that it stimulates a part of the brain which controls the release of dopamine, which changes mental and behavioural reactions.

Methylphenidate can be used by teenagers and children with ADHD who are over the age of six years. This particular drug is not licensed for use in adults, but can be taken under close supervision from a GP and/or specialist.

Side effects: There is a worryingly long list of side effects for this drug, the more common (effecting over 1 in 10 patients) being headaches, feeling nervous and difficulty sleeping. A further 1 out of 100 people can suffer from a much wider range of side effects from depression, anorexia and hyperactivity to things like heart problems and joint pains, and the list goes on.


  • Dexamfetamine

About: This drug works in the way as Methyphenidate and is also available under brand names such as Dexedrine and Dextrostat. Also a phsychostimulant drug, it is perscribe to narcoleptic patients. Dexamfetamine is from the drug fmily of Amphetamine and longterm use can lead to abuse of the drug and possibly dependancy, therefore it tends to be perscribed in a gradual dosage which is closely monitered.

Atomoxetine