New Changes in How Doctors Can Prescribe Stimulants

Patient Expert

Effective December 19, 2007, medical professionals will be able to prescribe up to a 90 day supply of Schedule ll medications at one time. Stimulants like Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta- medications often used to treat ADHD- fall under this category. The DEA (The Drug Enforcement Administration) amended its regulations, thus allowing for more flexibility in prescribing these medications.

What does this mean for you and your doctor?** The Good News:**

Patients who are well stabilized on their stimulant medications will no longer be forced to visit or call their physician monthly to receive prescription refills. This will save patients money, time and effort and will free up physicians, as well.

The Bad News:

Physicians not familiar with newer patients could lose sight of patients' needs. They will need to be more diligent in checking for possible side effects, especially in children who are not able to articulate problems they may be having.

All in all, though, I think the pros outweigh the cons.** Should you and your doctor** decide on less frequent visits, please remember to report any medication related problems you or your child might be having.

When to Call your Doctor

Stimulants often do come with side effects, though typically they are either temporary in nature, or mild enough that simple interventions will help eliminate or decrease the effects. However, you should contact your doctor if you or your child experiences the following problems while taking stimulants medications:

  • Severe or chronic problems with insomnia, loss of appetite, GI upset, headache
  • Tics
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Rebound (worsening of ADHD symptoms and irritability when med wears off)
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Psychosis or paranoia (rare, but it does happen)
  • Seizures (rare, as well; usually seen with underlying seizure disorder)

Here is a link to the DEA's new ruling:

...and here is a link to CHADD's official statement: