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  • Josh Regel

Alternatives to Stimulants for ADD and ADHD

The questions continue to flow in from concerned parents about their children who have either been diagnosed with ADHD or they suspect they may have a case of ADHD.  Many have heard about some of the negative side effects that can go along with some of the drugs that are commonly prescribed for this problem and would like to know about what alternatives are available.  Last summer we started digging a little further into the matter to try to help out.  Another pharmacy student passing through, Peyton Lucas, Pharm. D. Candidate 2016, did some additional research and not only found more information that supports what we had already discovered (read,)  but he has also reported on some additional information as well on prescription alternatives.  Here are the details:

ADHD is a common problem that affects many children and leaves their parents with a difficult decision:  should their child be started on a stimulant such as Adderall or Ritalin?  Although this provides a quick fix to the symptoms caused by ADHD and is often the first treatment recommended by doctors, there are many side effects to be aware of before starting your child on these medications.  Stimulants are associated with abuse and dependence, heart problems, decreased appetite/weight loss, and trouble sleeping.  According to the literature that comes with ADD and ADHD medications suicidal thoughts are a concern.  Fortunately, there are prescription and non-prescription medications that can be tried before stimulants to control your child’s ADHD.

Non-prescription alternatives that have been proven effective in ADHD are Omega-3’s, Phosphatidylserine, and Magnesium glycinate.  Omega-3’s and Phosphatidylserine have been shown to directly improve ADHD symptoms in children by increasing functioning of the brain.  Magnesium glycinate, on the other hand, has been shown to improve sleep.  Improving sleep often resolves many of the symptoms associated with ADHD.

Prescription alternatives to stimulants include Atomoxetine (Strattera), Guanfacine (Intuniv), and Clonidine (Kapvay).  These medications have been proven effective in children with ADHD and unlike stimulants, they are not controlled substances and are not associated with abuse or dependence.  They also do not cause heart problems, decreased appetite/weight loss, or sleeping issues like stimulants.

Although stimulants are needed in some situations and some children, they are associated with many side effects.  Unfortunately, many doctors do not discuss the alternatives that are available with parents of children with ADHD.  Wouldn’t starting with safer non-prescription supplements and then moving to prescription medications and/or stimulants, if needed, seem like a good option?

Check out the ADD/ADHD Nutrient Kit offered by Regel if you are looking for an alternative treatment to try with your child.  You may see a desirable change and teachers may notice a difference as well.

ADD and ADHD Kit

Let us know if you would like us to reserve an ADD/ADHD Nutrient Kit for you – email us at

If you have a child with ADD or ADHD what kind of challenges are you having?  Comment Below


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