Concerta vs Adderall XR for ADHD

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Concerta vs Adderall XR

Concerta and Adderall XR are two very common and popular treatments for ADHD.

They are both long acting forms of two similar yet different medications: one Ritalin, and one Adderall.

How well do they work?  And how do they compare?

If you want to learn more about what Ritalin is and how it works, see here.

Concerta

Concerta is a long acting form of Ritalin, also known as methylphenidate.  On a biochemical level, it acts on dopamine and norepinephrine receptors.  It temporarily blocks their ability to remove those neurotransmitters from the space in between cells.

And since dopamine and norepinephrine stay around for a longer time, they have a stronger effect.  This leads to better focus concentration and motivation.

Adderall XR

Adderall XR is a long acting form of Adderall.  Adderall is a mix of different amphetamines, including both the l and the d form.  Amphetamines, like Ritalin, also act to prevent the removal of dopamine and norepinephrine from the space inbetween cells.

Unlike Ritalin, however, Adderall may also cause the cell to pump out dopamine.

Efficacy: Concerta vs Adderall XR

About the same percentage of people will get benefit from Concerta as will from Adderall XR.  They work at almost the exact same rates.  Around 70% of those who use either medication along with therapy will have very significant improvement in ADHD symptoms.

We recommend that you read our analysis of Ritalin vs Adderall to learn more about the specific differences between the two.

That said, it is possible that someone will respond better to Concerta than to Adderall.  Dr. Tuckman, a clinician with significant ADHD experience, reports that roughly 1/3 of patients will respond best to a Ritalin type medication, 1/3 best to an amphetamine, and 1/3 will respond equally to both.

Long lasting form

It is important to note that both Concerta and Adderall XR are long lasting forms of stimulant medication.  They both last for an extended period of time, roughly 10-12 hours.

This is important because clinicians report superior treatment results with long lasting forms as opposed to the instant release.  Studies are also starting to strongly support the superiority of long lasting treatment versus short lasting.

In one study of 70 patients, for instance, 97% preferred the long acting form of Ritalin over the short acting.  In another, 44% of those on long lasting form of medication had ADHD symptom remission, as opposed to only 16% of those on short acting.

Side Effects

Both Concerta and Adderall XR have similar rates and similar types of side effects.

The most common side effects from both include anxiety, insomnia, and trouble eating.  Some studies have indicated that side effects for the medications tend to diminish over time.  This may be due to the body becoming used to the med.  It may also be because those for whom it is a significant issue, discontinue use.

It is possible that long term use of either medication is associated with slight decreases in weight and/or height in children.

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Pharmaceutical analyst who loves blogging about health and medical issues. Has written more than 150 articles and a book on attention deficit disorder. Correctly predicted delayed approval of Bydureon, approval of Provenge by FDA, and the non-approval of Acthar on June 11.

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101 COMMENTS

  1. My son is 12 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6. We started with 5 mg of Focalin XR and over the years increased it to 20mg. It seemed like the meds werent working anymore so we changed doctors (found one that actually does med checks every 6 months–previous doctor did no such thing) and changed to Concerta 36mg. That didnt help so we went to 72mg and I thought it was great. He’d been taking that for the past year and it lasted the full 12 hours so that meant we were able to do homework without a meltdown every night. I make sure he eats breakfast before he takes his meds and he has a much better appetite than with Focalin. Once his meds wear off he is still an eating machine but its ok with me. He’s never had any trouble sleeping. The trouble is getting him to finally stop moving and thinking and then he’s out for the night. His biggest issue is with school and this year he’s started middle school, 6th grade, and we’re having the same slew of problems. The teachers have comented that he’s not focused and have wondered if he was on his meds. Went to the doc the other day and she suggested we try Adderral 25mg. I’m a little nervous about the change. Today he’s taken the first one since its the weekend and I can mointor him. I will write back and report how it goes. From what I’m reading Concerta seems to be gentler than Adderall but more effective than Focalin.

  2. Ok , so nine days later I honeslty don’t see much of a difference between Concerta and Adderall. Haven’t heard from the teachers yet….

  3. Dawn, I read your email and I was shocked at the dose of Concerta that he was taking. 72mg? My son is a Junior in high school and he says 36mg is too much for him. It makes him very withdrawn. I have two sons with ADHA and I am familiar with the different meds and doses. I think you might want to get a different opinion about your sons ADHA diagnosis.

  4. Lisa~whats your experience with Adderol? Concerta was acting fine during the day on my 8 year old daughter, but the sleeplessness and anxiety were too much(on us). Then she has a couple nights of “I don’t know if I belong here on Earth” nights which made us pull the plug on Concerta. We are trying the Adderol now and so far, she is falling asleep normally. As I type this, however, she has woken up and needed to be checked on. What has your(or anyone’s) experiences been with these drugs?

  5. Kirk- my daughter had the same issues with concerta. we tried a cpl other meds but concerta worked great for her concentration minus the side effects.  her doctor started her on remeron at night.  all the bad side effects went away and now she is doing fantastic. 

  6. I have ADHD. I’ve found Adderall to be more effective then Concerta. Concerta gives me a twitch and makes my blood pressure rise out of control. When I was a kid, no one was diagnosed with ADHD (thank God). So I feel I have a different view on it. The best thing I’ve received from the medication is a new awareness of my ADHD. It has allowed me to recognize the ADHD “feeling” and reign it in. Don’t get me wrong from time to time it escapes, but it has allowed me to take less of this potentially damaging medication and be an overall happier person. I take pride in my ADHD, it allows me to think and process information in ways you “normal” people will never understand.

  7. Ive been on various meds including all the ones in the conversations here. Ive found finding a good balance of exercise, hard work, fun and cognitive thearapy along with a low dose of meds works wonders. For people with adhd that are on meds patience seems to be a common problem( at least with people who ive met)… Its good to develop a full range of personality and not let meds control how you act, rather just assist you. Hope this helps. 

  8. HI MY SON HAVE 10 YEARS OLD AND IS WITH ADDERAL SINCE DECEMBER 10, IN 15 MLG, BUT HE LOST 10 POUNDS AND HE LOST THE APPETIZE AND I TALKES TO HIS DR AND HE GAVE ME A SAMPLE OF INTUNIV, IM VERY WORRIED ABOUT TO TRY A NEW MEDICATION. ANYONE KNOWS SOMETHING ABOUT THAT MEDICATION????

  9. INTUNIV SOUNDS TO ANYONE???

  10. Hello everyone, I am currently taking Concerta. It seems like every time I decided to try something different it backfires. Okay, first of all, when I was officially diagnosed with ADHD, Predominently the Inattentive Type, I was given Ritalin PO twice daily to keep my focus, concentration, and motivation throughout the school day. My mother gave it to me on an as needed basis. If I had something to do or had somewhere to go on the weekend I took it. If not, she did not give that dose. I took Ritalin from the age of 7/8 up until 9th grade. I then started Adderall, the instsant release. I guess that one backfired because I was given 20 mg and my mother seemed to think it made things worse not better. I kind of know what she means and I’ll tell you why I said just that in a minute. Trying to keep my focus and concentration so that I don’t stray away from the path I am on…lol…Anyway, I took that one for one year and then my primary care physician mentioned Concerta! I had no idea there was such a thing as a stimulant that lasted all day without having to take it twice a day. I was excited and started right a way. I continued taking Concerta ER all the way until college. I continued, off and on, throughout college and my adult years. However, somewhere in the middle I took Straterra when that first came out. I was excited about that too since it worked for 24 hours…again, backfired on me!! I got very drowsy during the day and my judgment was more off then usual with some who has ADD/ADHD. It also made me sick inside. My first dose made me nauseated, dizzy, and felt like I wanted to throw up within an hour and I did just that exactly an hour after taking the stupid pill. So, I scratched that one off and just chalked it up to not agreeing with me and went back to the Concerta ER. Okay, now lets fastforward to the here and now. I started, about two to three months ago, taking Vyvanse, the longest acting stimulant out of curiosity along with feeling like the Concerta was losing its effectiveness. Actually, eventually, I felt like the Concerta was doing nothing for me at all to the point that I lost my job over my lack of focus and concentration. I was easily distracted by everything else around me. Well, yet another medication that backfired. I had no idea, to be honest, that it was exactly the same as Adderall except that it lasts for 12 to 14 hours rather then 10 to 12 hours. A cousin of mine who is just beginning as a pharmacist explained it well. After researching about the drug and comparing it to Adderall, she said the only difference is that the inactive inredient in the Vyvanse, in which Adderall does not have, converts into the dextroametaphine, which is basically Adderall XR. And, she said that is probably why it lasts longer then the Adderall. She also said that it is, of course, made by the same company. I guess they were just selling me a bill of goods…lol…well, except that it DOES last longer. However, I guess since the Adderall backfired, on a mild end of the spectrum, I was taking 20 mg at that time, the Vyvanse made things worse since I was taking 30 mg, which was okay at first, then upped it to 40 mg, which made me rapid cycle big time like a Bipolar person, then dropped back to 30 mg and still mildly rapid cycling…more or less became a Hyperfocused ADD person in which that is not me. Yes, I can hyperfocus at times, but that is more the inattentiveness to get things done that need to be done. I did not like who I became when I was taking Vyvanse and stopped taking it. So, now we get to TODAY….I took my first dose of Concerta ER 36 mg, in which I had been taking for years, and feel great. Focus, concentration, and motivation is back again. I also don’t feel like I am in a constant fog, going in and out throughout the day either. I do tend to get a little anxious while on this drug, I guess because I have mild anxiety as it is, more or less nervous thoughts in my head, but I can deal with that. I think if I find some natural tricks to curve the nervous thoughts/nervous habits that look like impusles to others, then I think I might be okay in the end. However, what do I do when I want to have children. I will eventually have to go off it and I don’t know how I would be able to manage life with the constant foggy mind and constant worries about little things in life that aren’t healthy to obsess/worry about. I guess that’s where a support system comes in. Currently, I am not married, but have a boyfriend and we have been talking about marriage lately. I don’t know when, but he says someday soon enough. Plus, I have my family as well. When I was excessively worrying about what I would do without medication my boyfriend told me that he would be very supportive and helpful which makes me more relieved in the end. And, I think if I live close to my parents, in the beginning, I can get some help from my parents, mainly my mother on an as needed basis. So, in the end, I think I might do just fine. It isn’t as bad as I think. And, as for the medication, I think I might just stick to the Concerta for now and probably won’t change that since everything else, non-methylphenadate related, backfired, I think I’ll stick to it and just stop using every so often at appropriate times so that it doesn’t lose its effectiveness. Now, Lyna, I don’t know about Intuniv. I kinda was wondering about it myself. But, it sounds like your son might be having a mild side effect from the Adderall. I know, when I take my Concerta, I lose appetite as well. But, in my case, it is a good thing. It just keeps my weight in check, that’s all. But, it sounds like it is not healthy for your son and you should definitely talk to his psychiatrist or doctor, whomever he is seeing. It sounds to me like he might need something different. But, at least he isn’t having any of the side effects I got when on Adderall or Vyvanse. The higher the dose the more irritable I got and the more hyperfocused I was in the end. I focused, sure, but not on what needed my focus and attention. Recently, when on the Vyvanse, I was hyperfocusing on my new phone given to me by my boyfriend, an old phone he wasn’t currently using but still paying for. He threatened to take it away because I was focusing more on the stupid phone and less on him when he would come to see me…lol…so there you have it…not good for me. Now, as for the appetite, I wasn’t sure if it was doing anything but causing me to just forget to eat lunch. I wouldn’t say it was causing me to LOSE appetite, but it was just causing me, due to hyperfocus issues, forget to eat lunch at times which was not good either. So, in the end, like I said, I personally like the Concerta. It doesn’t last as long, but I’d rather it be this way then the way I was before. Plus, I could always be prescribed something within the instant release group to keep me going at night since I am starting school in the Fall and I have one night class. Other then that, I think life will be just fine:) Good luck with your son and I hope you find the right solution so that he can succeed in life and be the best he can be at whatever he wants to be:)

  11. Sorry for the ramble, but it was quite a long story to tell…lol….

  12. Tina, I do NOT want any of my kids on any type of med that you are on. You are jumping out of your skin, you can tell by your posting – that is not normal & you need help ASAP

  13. I just wanted to say that I couldn’t be more happy with how concerta has helped my son!He is almost 10,and was diagnosed with adhd when he was 5 years old.We went through all the basic meds know to treat adhd.He did fine on ritalin for the first year.Then we tried adderral,he lost way too much weight.Finally his new doctor put him on concerta,which has turned out to be the best for him!It helps him focus in school and to “contain”himself enough to follow directions.He started on 17 mg/1xa day-2years later he increased to 27mg/1x a day.He went on vacation 1 week ago,and with bad timeing he was without his meds for 3 days.The therapy and copeing skills he learned really helped him!He was a little more hyper than usual,but handeled himself quite nicely.I spoke with his doctor today about it and he said that is the intent of medication-to help the child deal with the symptoms until the child learns enough about himself and his condition to manage it properly.The earlier treatment is given,the earlier meds become no longer needed(in most cases).We are very grateful we found concerta,because it not only helped him,he never suffered from any side affects, unlike the other meds we tried!-Give concerta a chance-it may be the one you have been looking for!-it won’t be right for everyone,but you don’t know till you try!

  14. My 6 year old has been on Adderall for almost a year but the side effects have been horrible, intense ticks, gittery, and sleepless nights and it enhanced his already aggressive moods even with mood stabalizers.  Recently we tried Daytrona patch but that failed with days because my child is extrememly hairy ( I had to shave him), he was picking at him and it left a rash.  Then they put him on Clonodine which had NO EFFECT what so ever and he completely reverted back to out of control no focus, frustrated, aggressive and unable to follow any direction.  The last few days he has been on Concerta and so far WOW!! The twitchiness is not there, he’s able to focus on tasks and still have fun, and there is no roller coaster affect of ups and downs!!..So far I’m impressed and hope it’s stays this way for further improvements in his schooling!!!

  15. I have been living with ADHD for 19 years. I was first diagnosed at the age of 6. Life has been very challenging and tough, especially when it came to school work. I was not put on any medication for my ADHD because my parents were against it; they believe in more of the holistic type of medicine. Here I am at the age of 25 and I see a therapist and psychiatrist regularly, they both have understood my parents views but think its now time that I once and for all get some medication assistance for my ADHD. I was perscribed Adderall 3 days ago and I am starting the medication today. I hope this medication helps my mind from racing and consistiantly jumping from one thing to another. I want to know what it is like to be “normal” or “focused”. Meaning I want to be able to read a book and know what I read and not have to read each page over and over and over again. Well wish me luck! 

  16. WOW, Ms. TINA! i was directed to this discussion of a search for concerta vs adderall. the short story that you wrote was of no help to me. i would suggest having several doctors opinions for your specific diagnosis, its clear that you have yet to be correctly diagnosed. hope you get better. 

  17. My daughter was diagnoised with adhd 3 years ago,we did the adderall first and it worked for a few
    months she lost a lot of weight initally thenwe tried the concerta and she has rage issues with it we took her off after two weekd then we did the vyvanse that worked for about a year then it seemed to lose it’s effectivness so she is back on adderall with intuniv which is supposed to help with odd
    oppositional defiance disorder I did not see any change with the intuniv so her dr took her off of it.Tina
    go find a doctor who knows about adhd get some new tests done there are so many bad doctors out there who are in in for the money but there are also some good ones .Y ou deserve to find out what the real problem is and have it treated and I wish you every luck and happiness .MY daughter isa freshman and we have had quiet the journey so far but hopefull it will get easier.

  18. jocelyng31@gmail.com

    FYI to everyone who gives and takes any medication for ADD/ADHD Benadryl is a great medication to use as a balance for the ticks, and tremors plus other side affects, when taking any of these medications ( I am not a doctor so dont hold me to it ) I have a son who has been on medication for years, (3yrs old) he is 11 and all I do is try to help him find a balance somewhere and always try to rescreach every medication before giving it to him…. He is on the Vyvannce right now 70mg and Zypexa 5mg and dopacoptie 500mg and the colindine 0.1 x 3 and sometimes still have to give him the benadryl 50mg to sleep its really sad for his age

  19. My story is a bit different as I wasn’t diagnosed until my middle adult years. How I managed to get through college and a career, with regular promotions, etc., is beyond me. 
    I went to my doc originally to get help with depression. He diagnosed ADD instead and had me on Adderall XR 25 mg. 
    I cannot tell you the difference in how it made me feel. Positive, for one thing. Also, I was able to organize plans so much better as well as not let things overwhelm me as they used to do. It was a wonder drug, and I still think for a lot of people stimulants in general, if used in the correct doseage, can really help a lot of folks, especially those of us that also suffer from depression or another co-morbid disorder. It may require trying a few different meds, but at least you’ll be able to tell in a matter of days, instead of months (like we have to do with a number of the anti-depressants)!

    Scott

  20. My son was diagnosed with ADHD at the end of last year and we tried Adderal for a short period of time. I stopped giving it to him because I was really concerned about the changes. Interestingly, without meds he constantly wants things…on the med he discusssed about how much things cost and how he shouldn’t. He seemed a little bit more focused on school work as well. The problem is he acts extremely depressed and tearful and it makes me concerned. Is this a normal side effect that goes away? Anyone else have these problems. His school work is suffering and it’s clearly because he’s not focused. I need to have an intervention now. I can’t imagine what it’s like for him at school when it’s a continual struggle with homework at home. A math sheet that should take 10 minutes turns into a 40 minute ordeal. He also has difficulty swallowing pills. I have an appointment with his pediatrician next week. Any recommendations as to what I should ask for?

  21. We learned a valuable lesson with our 10 yr old.  He was on ADHD medicine and started losing weight.  He was already low on the scale.  His right eye started bulging out and we took him to an endocrinologist.  Short story was his thyroid was bad and the Dr asked us why we didn’t have him tested for thyroid disease before prescribing Ritalin.  He is now on Methimazole and off Ritalin.   His prognosis is good but he will have his thyroid removed or radioactively neutralized at some point.  We caught it early so make sure you rule out the thyroid before getting massive doses of Ritalin.

  22. Wow…Thank you Brian! I have a bad thyroid and am researching Ritalin for myself. I had no idea.

  23. IMHO Concerta can’t hold a candle to Adderall. The stimulants just work better. It’s seems like old technology but it works. I’ve taken both…my productivity dropped tremendously on Concerta. 

    – Adult, 40, ADD

  24. @Tina – I am wondering if you see a psychiatrist? It might be a good idea to do that. Primary care doctors are great, however, sometimes it is best to see a psychiatrist to help treat psychiatric issues (i.e. ADHD). Your post is tangential, long, and difficult to follow – you may be over medicated or mis-diagnosed. 

  25. Hi everyone, my son is 11 years old and has been on concerta for 3 years, he is a twin but she’s a girl and she is fine, they are the opposite, she’s an A/B student. Concerta has been helping him stay focus and on task, for the last 2 years. now this is the 3rd year and he’s in the 6th grade, he’s off track, not organized,grades not to good,teacher calling me. He is on 18mg 1 a day. We went to the Dr. on Friday for his physical, I told the Dr. what was going on and so she said she was going to prescribe 27mg 1 a day. I am hoping this will help him get back on track.

  26. well my daughter has ADHD and ADD she has been taking her med’s since she was 5 she is now 8.Befor i found out she had ADHD i would get a call home from school every day katie did this katie did that….even when she was at home she could not get along with her brother or sister she would hit them for no reason she would be so out of control i wouldn’t know what to do half the time so i would just cry….so i finally took her to the doc and he said she has ADHD and ADD…i asked what is that he told me . He put her on day and evening meds …so its been 3 years so far since she has been on them she is doing a lot better in school a bit better at home ……But about a month ago i notice she was getting bald spots on the side of her head and she wouldnt eat … i took her back to the doc he did some blood work on her and said he would get back to me it’s been 1 month since we have seen him and nothing back from him yet….i really dont like the med’s she is on….I feel so bad for her i just want to take her off them ….

  27. Tina, thank you so much for your post. I have been dealing with add symtoms for a long time but never realized what is was until recently. I’m 29 now and have been through all the anxiety and depression meds hoping they would help me. I own a business and never got anything done, ive always done good in school but cant study for tests. While all this was happening i didnt know why and would get depressed and anxious about it. (Thats why the meds) I have started taking the concerta 27mg and feel great. I just started but will follow up to check in. Thank you everyone.

  28. Hi im 34 and just started to deal with My ADHD problems I first took a month of adderall but its impossible to get so I switched to concerta. Im taking 36mg 1x a day I notice a slight difference but not alot how long should I take this before we try uping dose? do I take for atleast 60 days. I heard that you need to get it into your system for awhile before you can really tell??? thanks

  29. Jason, have you switched to a higher dose? How is Concerta working for you? I’m 28 and I was originally diagnosed with ADD in elementary school. I was prescribed Ritalin back then and I could easily tell that it was working for me. When I got to middle school I decided that I didn’t want to be on medication and eventually quilt taking it because I felt like I was “too focused” on school and not focused enough on my friends. I struggled through high school and college but I graduated both. Since then I have jumped from one job to another (roughly every 2 years). A few months ago I decided that I need to talk with a doctor and get back on a medication. I tried Strattera for about a month but didn’t like it. I felt tired and sick during the day and I couldn’t sleep at night. Now I’m on Adderall but I don’t feel it’s working for me. The doctor started me on 10mg daily (5mg IR twice daily) after a week I called him and said that I didn’t feel as if it was working… since then we have bumped the dose up to 40mg daily (20×2) and the doctor said that if I feel 20mg in the AM isn’t working that I could try 30mg or even the full 40mg in the AM. Several weeks have gone by now and I have slowly upped the dose to 50mg once daily in the AM but I still don’t notice any difference in my focus or motivation. My mind still wanders and I’m constantly finding myself way off track from what I should be doing. From what I’m reading online it seems that 50mg of IR Adderall is a high does and I should be feeling the effects. I’m at the point right now where I am concerned about taking a higher dose Adderall and I’m looking for an alternative that will work for me. I am hoping that Concerta might do the trick, but almost everything I read point to Adderall as the more affective medication. Has anyone had a similar case with Adderall being non-affective? Have you had better luck with other medications like Concerta?

  30. @ J ya i went from 20mg a day of adderall to 36mg a day of concerta i notice it helps some but i have to talk to my doctor i may try 1 more month of the 36mg and see how it does before I up my dose. So i will keep u posted.

  31. Hi all, I got diagnosed with ADHD (inattentive side) recently. I’m 34 yrs old and I’m on Concerta. I started off with the 18mg dose and worked my way up to 36mg. I’m a little worried that this isn’t really working for me. It has had no effect on me… I’m just as inattentive and disorganized as ever. I drink about 3 xlg double doubles from Timmies’ but I don’t get jittery which my Doc thinks is strange. Anyone know if I should start exploring Adderall?

  32. Get your kids a full battery of tests!! They said my son was ADD, he was not hyper. After trying out a crazy drugs in -3rd grade, it was a nightmare. We wanted our son happy the way he was.. not on drugs, school was his only problem. I then requested more testing from the school and paid for my own testing. Tests showed major central auditory processing difficulities,LD , which can have the same problems as ADD. Don’t drug your kids up for grades in school, my son continues to struggle but at least with out the nutty drug struggle. (let them find their strengths!) He is now18, a great athlete, artistic, loves the outdoors, and anything science related.

  33. HI my name is heather and my 7 year old daughter has adhd. she has been on adderall xr 10 mg for a year. Recently we went up to 15 to try and increase her concentratino in school. She actually did worse on 15 so we put her back down to 10mg. Recently she had a sudden change at school.Staying in her seat, staying on task, etc. When I went back to the doctor he put her on concerta 18mg. we have not started it yet. I am very nervous bc my husand was on ridilion as a child and hated it. Does anyone have any opinions on whether which one is better or worse? I understand that each child is diff but any infor may help me thanks

  34. I have been dealing with an ADHD daughter for 12 years, 12 years of searching for the right medication, teachers, and everything in between. She is now on concerts and has been for the past 3+ years, and it works well for her. Ritalin was a nightmare for us, the multiple dosing through out the day caused crashing and emotional distress for her when she was younger. 
    I will say that the best medication for us was stratera (I’m sure I spelled that wrong) but it wasn’t covered with our benefits and would have caused a huge financial strain for our family. 
    Hope that this helps.
    Remember that she will grow into herself and start to realize what works for her as she gets older, let her be a part of her treatment, listen to what she says, and don’t let he doctors dictate what is best for her. You and she should be in the drivers seat of her treatment.

  35. My son started Concerta in the 3rd grade. Immediately, he started doing well in school and easily completing the homework. I never told any of his teachers that he was taking ADHD meds- none of their business. My son’s pediatrician does have 6 month checks. Maintaining weight was not a problem, but height has been. Whether the Concerta ever had anything to do with that, no one will ever know. I am 4’11, husband 5’8, full grown daughter 5’2 1/2. My son is 5’4 at 16 years old and that is after being on growth hormone shots for the past 2 yrs. My son has ONLY taken concerta for school- Never on weekends or in the summer. I don’t mind using the meds to concentrate in a crowded classroom, rigid teaching to the test that doesn’t accommodate many different learning styles, but weekends and summer are fine for the high energy. Although now at 16, teaching him how to drive, I am thinking weekends without concerta and being behind the wheel is not the best idea. I don’t particularly think the concerta 54mg ( my doc told me that is the highest dosage) works quite as well this year as it has in the past. My son has mostly A’s, a few B’s but has a D in algebra and chemistry. This is most likely due to just simply not having the aptitude for those subjects ( a creative, liberal arts student instead), but I am surprised that even with a private tutor for those 2 subjects in addition to the concerta, that all he can manage is a D. It sure isn’t going to help him get into college. I was curious to read the difference and the comments on Adderall vs Concerta, but the comments have made me decide against switching.

  36. Tina, being a neuropsych student, you should definitely see a psychiatrist.  Stimulants can boost mood, and it sounds like you’re indirectly treating other problems with the battery of stims you’ve been on.  They lose their efficacy quickly because they aren’t supposed to treat the issues I think you’ve been trying to treat….

    Anyway, I’ve used both concerta and adderall xr and the adderall was much more effective.  It gave me clear energy whereas concerta made me feel hot, sweaty, tired… yet stimulated.  I’ve been prescribed them for off-label use to give me energy in the day.. I have incomplete quadriplegia after a snowboarding accident, so everything I do requires more effort. I became drained trying to keep up with university workloads and adderall has allowed me to maintain a regular and active student lifestyle.  Given my background of neuropsych, however, I realize the potential negative effects of these drugs. I use 20mg XR and it’s quite powerful… and I’m 21.

    I URGE PARENTS TO TRY THE DRUG THEY ARE GIVING THEIR CHILDREN ONCE. This is not medical advice, but doctor’s will prescribe anything.. Just because you don’t have ADD, doesn’t mean you can’t try either ritalin/concerta or adderall.  In doing so, you will see just how powerful these stimulants are, and maybe reconsider giving your small children these drugs.  Be aware that ADDERALL = SPEED and RITALIN ~= COCAINE.  Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle are very effective in treating hyperactivity.. don’t resort to drugs if you haven’t tried anything else. 

  37. I am 44 and was recently diagnosed with ADHD. When I was younger no one really had ever heard of ADHD, at least not where I grew up. I was just considered a very active child, and was constantly being told that I never pay attention. How I managed to make it through school and college I will never know because I never could stay focused. As for work, I always excelled in every position I held, only because I worked very hard to overcome my lack of attention. I knew something was just not right with me. I finally talked to a primary care physician about how I felt and what was going on with my life and me. He diagnosed me as Bipolar and prescribed Seroquel XR and Prozac. After I gained 20+ pounds, I stopped taking the drugs. I went back to the doctor and requested to see a psychiatrist. My psychiatrist was livid when I told him I had been diagnosed as Bipolar. The doctor who diagnosed me as Bipolar was not qualified to make such a diagnosis. My psychiatrist said it was very dangerous for a person who is not bipolar to take those medications. He diagnosed me as ADHD and I began taking Adderall XR. Once we adjusted the dosage, I could tell a big difference in my concentration, but I began being very irritable and emotional. I switched to Concerta and although periodically I experience some anxiety, I am very pleased with the medication. Another upside to both the Adderall and the Concerta was the weight loss, once the bipolar medication finally left my system I had gained a total of 40 pounds. I feel almost normal now, whatever that means. I do want to make two points. First – make sure you see a doctor who is qualified to make the proper diagnosis, basically, a psychiatrist. Second – do not decide which medication(s) are right for based on what others are taking, everyone’s body responds differently to different medications. What works for one person may not work for you. Give the medications time to work before jumping to the next. Be truthful with your doctor, he cannot help you if you do not. God bless all those dealing with ADHD and those who have loved ones dealing with ADHD.

  38. My daughter just turned 6 in april and has been taking intuniv
    For the past 3 years for ADHD. within the last 3 years she has tried
    Adderall and straterra. Neither of those were good for her as
    They made her chest hurt and sick. The intuniv is a non stimulant
    And her dr thinks its time to try concerta. Im a worry wort 
    And not sure if concerta is something i want to try. But im running
    Out of options….somebody help with some advice pleasr

  39. i have been taking concerta 54 mg ad i feel as if it is wearing off early, and i am loosing focus and feel as though i am in a fogg. I have trouble concentrating, and cant remember all that well. My doctor just ordered me to take concerta 36 mg at six in the morning and concerta 36 mg at twelve o’clock. I am scared this is alot to take because of the other articles i have read. should i do what the dr ordered or maybe try something else? Your opinions will be helpful.

  40. My child has been on intuitive for 4 months he’s 16 his mood and attitude is better but he doesn’t sleep. I have a call to the dr to ask him about focalin ar or something for his ADHD but not sure what to try can’t handle him not sleeping at night. Any suggestions or advise please. 

  41. What mg of intuniv is your son taking? the dr told me to give
    my daughter melatonin at bedtime and most the time it works
    But depends how much she sleeps during the day. Does the
    Intuniv make him sleepy?

  42. ADD or CAPD- I find it offensive that you would use the term “nutty drugs”. You obviously do not understand the extreme struggles someone who really does have ADHD/ADD goes through. I’m happy that it all worked out for your son in the end but for someone like me, those “nutty drugs” give me a chance at being a normal productive citizen in society. Shame on you for accusing people who take medication (prescribed by a doctor, which you clearly are not) simply to get good grades in school. Did you ever consider that just because a person has ADHD/ADD that maybe they are very intelligent and that added boost helps even the playing field? We aren’t all artists and dancers, believe it or not. I thank God for my medication and of you knew what people like myself go through everyday, so would you.

  43. Hi my name is Bailee. I am 24. I have 3 children. I have been on Zoloft and Wellbutrin. I have recently been Diagnosed with ADHD. And prescribed concerta. I will try it for the first time on Monday. I am nervous. I have a history of anxiety. Not severe. But worrying over the little things in life. I hope tho medication helps me focus. Any suggestions? Or help with how it wille defect my daily routine? 

  44. Hi! I’m Linda and unfortunately, wasn’t dianosed until I was 57 with ADHD. I was put on Vyvanse and discovered 60mg worked well. However, a couple years down the road, it lost its effectiveness, and my anxiety worsened. I ended up seeing another psychiatrist who informed me that a person usually needs to change medications after about 1 or 2 years, because it usually loses its effectiveness. She gave me very good information that may help any one reading this. Do not drink alcohol or caffeine taking stimulants. It’s important to drink plenty of water and take B12, and multivitamins. I found out that while I’m taking Adderall XR, that it won’t be as effective if you don’t go to bed by 10:30. It’s about structure and routine. This has been difficult for me. Vyvanse was very useful for giving me focus and energy while it was working. I advise anyone that has ADHD or ADD, to get good christian counseling in addition while taking medication. Life is a journey and always stay hopeful. I pray this information will help someone, as I’m not one to ever leave comments. God bless you all!

  45. thank you Linda for your advice, and best of luck with the new meds. I’m currently researching Adderall XR as an alternative to my Concerta XR, which is now too quickly metabolised now to be useful. :)

  46. Hi, just wanted to say that I tried Concerta. I called them ” Death Pills”. The feeling of my heart going to explode, and wanting to vomit was too much. I started out with Adderall XR. It was fine, just that my doctor felt I needed to be on something that lasted longer. To make a long story short, I went back on the adderall xr on a higher dose. It seems to be doing the trick, without the ” death” feeling. I suppose it depends on the person, but keep on trying until you find something that works for you. Hang in there. Good luck to you all.

  47. My son, now 10, has ADHD (with anxiety rather than hyper activity). We had a battery of psychological testing done which was helpful to rule out learning disabilities and find “holes” in cognition affecting the best teaching patterns for him.  He has been on Adderall XR 5 mg since he was 7. As Adderall XR is time released, I try to give it to him as early as possible in the morning (6 a.m.), then the second dose is released 4-6 hrs. later so usually affects his appetite for lunch. We have opted for a huge snack right after school, dinner after 7 p.m. and exercise for at least 1-2 hrs. after school (Krav Maga like karate), biking or swimming. Before Adderall his focus was terrible with numerous teacher complaints, but he is doing awesome in school now. I keep the teacher appraised so she is in the loop. Previous to this year, we pulled him out of a school that had too much “teaching for the test” (at least one month per year’s time was spent on standardized test prep so the school could get good scores) and between 29-35 kids in his class (total chaos or seatwork [worksheets] most of the day). In his new school, there is minimal standardized testing (Deibels only), 15-19 kids in his class with a structured, calm classroom and teacher. I think Adderall is the best bet for him since it is given in much smaller doses than Concerta, etc. For sleep problems we alternate nights with rubbing 3 drops of lavender on the arches of his feet after he is in bed at night (asleep in 15 minutes) OR by giving him 1 mg of Melatonin (natural hormone regulating sleep) which is an over-the-counter med found with vitamins in any pharmacy (usually takes a 1/2 – one hour to take effect). We always take him off Adderall for the summer so he can grow better and also during Winter Holidays if they are over a week in length. Good luck to all in finding the best solution for your child. 

  48. My son started on Concerta near the end of his senior year in high school to improve his focus. He simply went to our GP and told him his friends were all doing great on this drug, so he wanted to be on it to. It was just that easy! It seemed to give him the desired results, but unfortunately he lost 20 pounds in 3 weeks and he agreed that we should flush this stuff down the toilet. Now he is in junior college, and working part time – or was until just recently. In the last few weeks his weight has dropped again from 140 to 120 lbs. Since he is 18 he was able to go back to a GP (or several for all I know) and get his Concerta. He is incredibly irritable most of the time, and this morning he threatened me with a 12 inch butcher knife. GPs should not prescribe psych meds, and young adults need to learn coping skills – not become dependent on stimulants that actually hinder their development. Just sayin. This stuff is extreemly abused.

  49. I have a 6 yr old son. He has Adhd and mood disorders. Today the Dr. took himthe off Strattera and put himjust on Concerta 27mg, clonidine, and risperdalI which heI was already on. My son was admitted yesterday into a medical facility . When I went to see him tonight he was verybeing aggitatated, wouldnt have anything to do with us. Am I wrong when I told the nurse he is to stop the Concerta immediately. The last time he tried a stimulant he did the same thing. Any suggestions?

  50. Hi all, I am a nurse and grew up when there were no such dignosis and it would have been unheard of to allow children to be prescribed meth- amphetamines. Long term use causes brain atrophy along with other pretty serious side effects mentioned by several of you. Teachers (& many parents) now a days are not willing (or trained) to deal with what use to be the normal, active, squirmy child. Teachers compare entire groups of children to the few children who are “unusually” quiet and attentive and want ALL children to follow this pattern of behavior. Anyhow, I could write a book here, but was just looking up a med for a friend who thought that her child was not on this type of med because it wasn’t called “Ritalin” and I wanted to show her that Concerta is basically the same thing. PLEASE all of you watch the documentaries “Generation Rx” and “The Medicated Child”, and these only touch on the epidemic we have in the U.S. caused by “Big Pharm”. Follow the paper trail and you will see that ADD/ADHD is big business at the risk of our very children. More often than not, great leaders, inventors, writers, scientists, etc. were chidren who would now have been diagnosed with this. Instead, thankfully, they were allowed to be children.

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