6 year old first week on meds - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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6 year old first week on meds

preziah76 profile image

Our son was diagnosed in Kindergarten combination ADHD. He is now in first grade at a new school. We wanted to wait on meds to see how being at a new school would affect him. Towards the end of the first month things started to get bad with him distracting other students and becoming highly disruptive to the point where he had to be removed from the class at times in order to settle down.

He was prescribed Adderall over the summer so we decided this would be the week we would start.

We used the weekend to observe because we didn't know what to expect. We started with 5mg per the directions and things were fine the first part of the day but as the day progressed I could see signs of it wearing off. Nothing dramatic though.

Before starting the meds his doctor said he would probably need 15-20mg. So I asked for the second day should we just go with a higher dosage. She said to start with 10mg. So on the second day we did just that and it was a disaster! Lots of crying and defiance. By the end of the day he had the biggest emotional meltdown he's ever had.

Now we're back to 5mg. The first official day of school on meds was great according to his teacher. Buy day two after lunch he was back to his disruptive behavior.

Which leads me to my question, does Adderall take a while to be effective for an entire day? And if we eventually go up to 10mg will his body then have had time to get use to the meds or will the disaster of the weekend likely occur again?

As you can see, we're still finding our way through this process. Hopefully this all made sense.

21 Replies

Hello, my son is on adderall xr. He started this year in June. It took about a week for him to get used to the medication in his system. He started on 10 mg and every week he moved up 5 mg. He is now on 25mg and that is working really well for him. In the beginning he was nauseous, headaches and a little agitated. Every time we increased his dose he had same symptoms. Now he has been on 25mg since July and he is fine. We have noticed huge improvements especially motivation, better grades and he has not been in the office at all this year. He is starting to make friends as well. my son is 15 he said he would never miss a day of adderral. If your son is being more disruptive still I would question if adderral is a right fit. My son was in concerta before adderral and he was more distruptive, aggressive and had suicidal thoughts in that med. we tried it for 2 months before switching him. I would give it a month and if your not seeing changes than maybe switch. We did the gene test as well and it stated that concerta would give him adverse effects. Adderall was a good fit for him. If the drug is good they should see less side effects. Good luck with everything. I know it’s trial and error and can get frustrating.

ADHDmetoo profile image
ADHDmetoo in reply to Jaxy53

Can you tell me about the gene test? We are in the beginning stages of this and figuring out the meds. It would be great to know ahead of time what would work better for him rather than this current guessing game.

Jaxy53 profile image
Jaxy53 in reply to ADHDmetoo

It was a test we had completed on our son to see what medication metabolizes correctly in his system. They test all ADHD drugs and send you a report on which ones work better. They also have in the report the drugs that have adverse effects or will cause more side effects in the child. Biogeniq is the company I used. They sent me a kit to complete where I swabbed his check for DNA and sent it off for testing. As well as ADHD meds they also test for anxiety, depression and other psychotic medications. It worked for us. My son was on concerta and was having lots of headaches, he was more agitated and seemed more angry when we started him on concerta. He said he did not feel right on the medication. When we got the results Concerta along with Ritalin was not good for him. We switched him right away. He has been on Adderall xr for 6 months now with no side effects. He says he feels normal and he is not agitated on the drug at all. If you are from the United States I believe the company you would use is Genesight. Good luck

Marin2011 profile image
Marin2011 in reply to Jaxy53

What is the gene test a blood test thanks

Jaxy53 profile image
Jaxy53 in reply to Marin2011

no it was a swab of his mouth/check along with his syliva

Thanks for the reply. He's only been on Adderall for three school days so far so making a determination about whether or not the drug is right for him might be premature. But we are definitely open to the probability.

This gene test you mentioned, is that something we could ask his pediatrician for? We have Kaiser.

Madmarie profile image
Madmarie in reply to preziah76

My son started Adderall at seven. Our experience was much the same as yours, but then he said he wanted to jump off the rock wall, at school, and go to Heaven. That was it for me. I took him back to the doctor, and he started Concerta. I hope he adjust, but I wanted to share my story with you. He’s 10 now and doing just fine. He’s been on Concerta every since. Good luck.

preziah76 profile image
preziah76 in reply to Madmarie

I emailed his doctor this morning telling her about the issues we've been having (we had to pick him up from school today because he was being super disruptive and physical with the other kids).

She said to stop the Adderall and prescribed Focaline. We'll start that tomorrow and see how he does. I do feel about lost in the woods right now but I'm reading as much as I can and we are also going to find some behavioral therapy.

Jaxy53 profile image
Jaxy53 in reply to preziah76

I’m in Canada and my dr knew nothing about genetic testing to see what meds metabolize correctly. I researched it and chose a company called biogeniq out of Montreal. I think on the US there is a company called genesite. I had to pay 285.00 Canadian for the test but it was worth it

Azbee profile image
Azbee in reply to preziah76

If you are struggling with the meds, which is very common, you should take your son to a child psychiatrist, who can better diagnose and offer the best strategy with the meds. Please do not just count on your pediatrician for this. Wishing you the best. A child psychiatrist will give you better peace of mind during this very difficult process.

preziah76 profile image
preziah76 in reply to Azbee

Thank you for that advice. We will certainly reach out they psychiatrist that diagnosed him.

Hi there!

So my question is, was your son given Adderall or Adderall XR?

If the medication is not Adderall XR, which is the extended release version, then his medication would wear off as soon as 4 to 6 hours, not long enough to work the entire school day. He would need a second dose after 4 hours or so, in the middle of the school day.

It would then be understandable that he would begin to act out toward the end of the day if his medication has worn off.

Here’s a medication chart that gives you a clear idea of what medications are available and how long they work for:


Our son started Concerta the end of first grade, and has been on it for almost a year. It’s been endlessly beneficial for him, like others that have replied.

At six years old, before Concerta, he said regularly that he wanted to kill himself...the emotional toll of being reprimanded constantly, unable to make friends, sensing the disdain of others. Our little ones are affected more than perhaps most people realize.

When he first started his meds, the first two days, at different moments throughout the day, he looked like he was high... but happily playing with his Legos. His body was in an adjustment period, and on the third day, he was just a boy in control of himself, in control of his behaviors and his emotions.

So in answer to your question, Adderall will not build up to become effective for the whole day, like an antidepressant for instance that takes a month to begin working. Adderall will start to work immediately, and will end immediately and be out of his system after the 4-6 hours (unless it is the Adderall XR version)

My started at 18mg Concerta (which is extended release over 10-12 hours, so essentially it releases in three parts throughout the day, about 5mg every four hours (its more complex than this, but just for illustrative purposes ) Over the course of a few months, he incrementally went up in dosage, until for the past 8 months he’s been on 36mg.

I hope this is helpful!

Wow, wrote a lot... haha sorry for the novel!!

Best of luck to you,

We all share in the same struggles,

All my best

preziah76 profile image
preziah76 in reply to Overhere23

Thanks for the reply. Sorry for not being specific. He was prescribed Adderall XR. So yes, the extended release. Thing is, yesterday he started to act up at school in the morning which is new.

Thanks for sharing, My son had the same reaction to Adderall. It was a complete nightmare meaning he was extremely defiant, talk backs and anger. I took him off Adderall and put him on focalin instead. His behavior changed completely.

Stimulant medications tend to work very quickly, so you know if it’s working or not. My son tried an Adderall dirivative and was all over the place. We didn’t even try for a second day. He’s currently on Adzenys and we’ve seen an improvement in his behavior. Unfortunately medication will only fix about 40% of the problems. The other 60% comes from behavioral therapy and training.

I tried adderral with my son at 5. He became extremely aggressive. You should see a difference right away. I’m surprised the doctor started him on that medication first rather than a methylphenidate, but I’m not a psychiatrist. More does not always mean better. You may want to go back to the dr and ask for a different medication. My son responded well to Focalin and I know a number of other parents who have also had success.

preziah76 profile image
preziah76 in reply to Cjkchamp

Thanks for the response. We actually did contact our pediatrician yesterday and she prescribed Focalin. We're going to start that today. Here's hoping for the best.

Cjkchamp profile image
Cjkchamp in reply to preziah76

Fantastic!!!! Wishing the best for you! I had a psychologist tell me adderral is better for adults and not so much for kids...

Try behavioral therapy, social group they may help better than the med's.Kids with ADHD need structure and predictability give him time he will come around. New school they don't do well with change and if the class is loud and unorganized that will add to his


I am a parent of a 31 year old who had ADHD. I am no expert but through my experiences with him as his mother, maybe you can give him the 5 mg in the a.m. and make arrangements for the school nurse to give him another 5 mg pill after lunch. Medications can be dangerous with bad side effects and unless there is an enormous improvement in academics and behavior, and side effects are minimal, I go with the "less is more" attitude. Your child's health is the most important thing and it comes before anything else. Because of our experiences, I wrote and illustrated a self-published book called "I have A.D.D. and I'm Proud to Be Me." It's on amazon.com and it shows ADD from the CHILD'S PERSPECTIVE instead of it being a book of instructions for adults. When we can walk in the shoes of the child with this condition, and better understand how THEY feel, communication is better. If you read the book TO and WITH your child, it opens the door for discussions WITH your child and not ABOUT him, along with exploring (together) what kinds of behavior modifications you can use in the home to help. You will understand your child's feelings better and you can work together as a family. It helped us a great deal. Pediatricians, psychiatrists, school psychologists, teachers, etc. just want your child to not be a behavior problem so the child's health is not first and foremost. I'm sorry to say this but many times, it is true. Best of wishes to you and your child. I hope my book helps. Wendy Kirkpatrick

Well it's day two on Focalin. We didn't hear from his teacher yesterday so I have no idea how the day went. But, my wife just got a call that she had to pick him up because he was misbehaving in morning circle time. Running around the classroom being disruptive and jumping on some of the kids. This is the third time in two weeks that he's had to go home. A few other days he has to be taken out of the class.

I just emailed the psychiatrist that gave him the diagnosis. I'm hoping we can get in to see him soon to possibly find solutions.

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