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Tuesday, May 13, 2008 victoria marant, Community Member, asks

Q: does treatment of adderall become less effective over time

i have been on adderall for approx 12 years or so.  i take 20 mg 3 times a day.  i have found that in the past 3 to 5 months my syptoms, such as impulsivity and inability to pay attention to conversatios, complete tasks, and constantly misplacing things, to be getting worse.  my dr. doesn't want to increase my meds she suggested i go to an adhd specialist - i know adderall has been the only things that has worked for me.  i am getting frightened because all these uncontrolled symptoms are leading to severe deppression. can someone please guide me

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Answers (1)
Terry Matlen, ACSW, Health Guide
5/14/08 10:32pm

Hi Victoria,


I'm so sorry to hear of your medication problems. There are a number of reasons why the Adderall could be losing its efficacy. You mention that it began 3-5 months ago. Were there any life changes during that time? More stress than usual? Illness? Anything that you can think of? Sometimes, such life changes can affect the way medications work. If you've been depressed, for example, the stimulant might not be as effective.


Another possibility is hormonal changes. If you're middle aged or older, your body changes the way it handles medications like Adderall.


All of this means is that you may need some tweaking; either in dosage, by changing meds (it could be a temporary change) or adding an additional medication to the regime. If, say, you've become a bit depressed before you noticed the change in your response to Adderall, it's possible you need a med to help with the depression in addition to the Adderall.


Also, sometimes, an additional medication is needed to "push" the effects of the stimulant.


I agree with your doctor that it would be a good idea to consult with an ADHD specialist- someone who works a lot with adults who have ADHD and have seen complicated cases.


Please don't despair. There are many ways of handling this problem and I do think you'll find an answer.



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By victoria marant, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/25/10, First Published: 05/13/08