Four Common ADHD Medication Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

 In ADHD Symptom Control

ADHD medicationAs an adult ADHD coach, my clients and I talk about many things. When we focus on the details of their ADHD treatment, finding they are making common ADHD medication mistakes isn’t unusual.

Adults with ADHD don’t do this intentionally, most people just don’t know what prevents ADHD meds from working correctly. A great source for accurate ADHD medication information is Dr. Charles Parker’s book ‘New ADHD Medication Rules’.

Four ADHD Medication Mistakes and How to Avoid Them:

ADHD Medication Mistake #1: Drinking citrus juice. According to Dr. Parker, the acid in oranges, grapefruits, and their juices interrupts the absorption of short acting stimulant ADHD medications (you know it’s short acting if there is an SA on the bottle).

So drinking that glass of orange juice or grapefruit juice when you take your Adderall or Ritalin is a no-no. Citrus messes with the long acting medications such as Vyvance and Concerta, too, because they all start with a short acting boost to quickly kick your brain into gear.

With long acting medications you can enjoy citrus later in the day because by then the drug has moved on down to your intestines where the acid in the citrus won’t interfere.

ADHD Medication Mistake #2: Not eating breakfast. It doesn’t matter if you’re late and you don’t like to eat in the morning, you must eat breakfast before you take your ADHD medication. Your meds will work better and you’ll get a meal in before the medication suppresses your appetite.

ADHD Medication Mistake #3: Not drinking enough water. Stimulant ADHD medications are dehydrating. Dehydration causes brain fog. 99% of my new coaching clients don’t drink enough water whether or not they treat their ADHD with medication. Hydrate up. If you want your brain to work it’s important. You can read about ADHD-Friendly ways to remember to drink water here.

ADHD Medication Mistake #4: Forgetting to refill your prescription. Ever experience the panic of taking your last Adderall on a Sunday morning? You need your meds to focus at work on Monday and there’s no way to get your prescription refilled in time.

The solution is simple: make a reminder in your phone to refill your prescription a week before your pills run out. Reminders will work better if you use a reminder app, like the Due App, that doesn’t stop bugging you until you’ve done the task.

Another trick a number of my ADHD coaching clients use is to keep a couple of extra pills stashed away just for these types of emergencies. Bingo. Problem solved.

I’m curious. Which of these common ADHD medication mistakes are you making? And what steps will you take to avoid them?

Dana Rayburn is an ADHD Coach in Oregon, but don’t worry… She works by telephone helping ADHD adults all over the world live more effortlessly and successfully with ADHD.



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Dana Rayburn
Dana Rayburn is a leading ADHD coach who's passionate about helping adults live more successful and effortless lives. Dana leads private and group ADHD coaching programs. She also writes frequently about outsmarting ADHD; particularly boosting productivity through ADHD-friendly organizing and time management. Packed with healthy doses of wisdom for living with adult ADHD, there's a reason Dana's ADHD Success Blog is considered the go-to resource by thousands of subscribers.
Showing 8 comments
  • Janelle Marie Bird

    So i just started drinking this “lemonade” mix which has fresh squeezed lemon juice, cheyenne pepper, organic maple syrup mixed in a 50.72 oz bottle. Will this effect how fast acting adderal works? I feel more tired then usual, but the drink is to help me loose some weight. Not to mention is a detox for my body. Any advice? What exactly does citrus stuff do to adderal, and the way it works? If the combination effects me, what symptoms will i have? Thanx

    • Dana Rayburn

      Great question! Citric acid blocks the absorption of the stimulant medications like Adderall or Ritalin. Don’t take the meds at the same time you drink your “lemonade” mix. Wait an hour and see if that helps you be less tired.

  • Riley

    I wish I could refill early. In my state, I can only refill after 30 days. Literally, I take my last pill and then the next day can get my refill. Drs can authorize an early refill in an emergency, but they rarely will do so.

    Can you explain how eating breakfast makes Adderall work better?

    • Dana Rayburn

      Now, that’s an ADHD nightmare.

  • Wenonah

    What information do you have about acids/bases with ADHD meds? My son is on a Tagamet regime for treating a large wart on his toe. (weird sounding I know, but the dermatologist said there was evidence out there to support doing this) Since Tagamet lowers the pH of your stomach, will that improve absorption or do nothing at all. Would it be different for children vs. adults? My son is only 7.

    • Dana Rayburn

      Hi Wenonah,
      That’s an interesting question. I’m sorry, I just don’t have an answer. Best check with your son’s doctor.

  • mandi

    i take adderal for my narcolepsy and zantac for my heartburn….i take both together in the morning…..have i been cancelling my addreal out with the zantac?

    • Dana Rayburn

      Hi Mandi, I’m not sure. You better ask your doctor.

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