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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Showing 17 comments
  • Janelle Marie Bird
    Reply

    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
      Reply

      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
    Reply

    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
      Reply

      Now, that’s an ADHD nightmare.

  • Wenonah
    Reply

    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
      Reply

      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
    Reply

    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
      Reply

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

  • Annie
    Reply

    I’ve been trying different ways to balance my digestive health naturally. Having life long issues with it and bring prescribed Nexium recently (which I won’t take because I don’t need it), I’ve found that when my acids were too low, I over absorbed Adderall XR and lost electrolytes within the hour. So I ate low to medium acidic foods to balance again and found Adderall XR working again. To try and keep balance naturally, I drink warm lemon water about 2 hours after taking my dose and the last few days my ADHD is out of control, and the Adderall stops working right after the lemon water. I’ve noted it with many foods. Being histamine intolerant, my diet is limited. For me taking Adderall XR the same time each day, drinking a nutritional shake three hours later is effective for me. I don’t puke up stomach bile as I do if I eat breakfast before the natural morning sickness goes away, with or without Adderall. I don’t have over or no absorption issues that way. Definitely for me, food intake plays a huge role in the effectiveness of my treatment. The lemon water has to go, maybe make it a night time thing. For me when digestive system is happy my treatment dose of Adderall XR 40mg in the morning, smoothly releases for 10-12 hours. Hopefully some day I’ll get this digestive system balanced with being able to continue ADHD treatments effectively.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Hi Annie, What a challenge you have! I’m glad you’ve figured out a plan that helps your Adderall XR work. Citric acid can block the absorption of ADHD medication. That’s probably what’s happening with you and the lemon juice (orange juice would do the same). Your idea to try drinking lemon juice at night is the next thing to try. Wishing you all the best!

  • Chris Sneed
    Reply

    Ok so how long before and after to get your lemons? Seeing as lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods you can eat, I am quite confused by this. As a matter of fact many fruits that people advise not to eat on adderall, in reality alkalize the body. Also I have heard that acetic acid is not good to take either, yet once again acetic acid i.e. Apple cider vinegar alkalizes the body. All of this can be found by googling alkaline diet or the best alkaline foods. Every article I have read regarding this lists lemons at the top of the list and encourages eating lemons or drinking lemon juice. So what gives?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Great question, Chris. It’s the citric acid that blocks the absorption of the stimulant medications. I’ve been told to wait at least an hour on either side od taking the meds to have citric. If you’re taking a long-acting like Vyvanse it’s okay to have lemons in the afternoon. By then the pill is in your intestines and the citrus won’t interfere.

  • Lauren
    Reply

    Should I be drinking more than 8-10 ounces of water per day while taking stimulants? I know for a fact I drink a minimum of 8 ounces every day.

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      YES!! In case you didn’t get that, I’ll repeat…oh, YES! Medication or not, drink more water. According to Dr. Daniel Amen, a rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces. So a 180 lb person needs to drink 90 ounces of water a day. Your brain won’t work without enough water. If you exercise a lot you may need more. Water-based foods (lettuce, oranges, etc.) can help. Can be herb teas, etc. Coffee dehydrates. Hydrate up!

  • Michelle
    Reply

    Okay-I have the extended release Adderall and I’m having trouble sleeping at night. Should I ask my doc to switch my Adderall to the other type, the non-extended release?

    • Dana Rayburn
      Reply

      Michelle, are you taking your Adderall first thing in your day? The Extended Release should last 8 – 10 hours if the dose is right. If are giving it time to wear off and you still can’t sleep, yes, talk to your doctor.

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