Stimulant medications

Stimulants are an effective way of managing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms such as short attention span, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity. These drugs improve ADHD symptoms in about 70 percent of adults and 70- 80 percent of children shortly after starting treatment [1].

For individuals with ADHD, stimulant treatment helps to maintain optimal levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the frontal cortex and other critical brain regions. The proper levels of these neurotransmitters help to reduce hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity.

Examples include (brand name italicized):

  • Amphetamine (Dyanavel, Evekeo)
  • Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin)
  • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
  • Dextroamphetamine and amphetamine mixtures (Adderall, Mydayis)
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Metadate, Methylin, Contempla)

Side Effects:


  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Increased anxiety

Less Common:

  • Blurred vision
  • Hallucinations

  1. Cleveland Clinic. “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Stimulant Therapy.” Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, 23 Jan. 2013,

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