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What About Medications?

There are several considerations to keep in mind when thinking about reducing or stopping your child's medications during the summer holiday. These include the following:
  • How well does the medication work for your child? Most experts advise that medication not be stopped during the summer break if ADHD is well controlled. This is especially true in children who have trouble functioning without medication. If your child's medication is not working as well as you would like, however, summer may be a good time to adjust the dose or try a new medication altogether.
  • Do your child's symptoms create problems at home, or just at school? For most children with ADHD, symptoms can interfere with functioning both outside and inside school. However, some children with mild ADHD may just have problems at school, when more focus and attention are needed. If this is the case for your child, a summer break from medications may be an option.
  • What plans do you have for your child and family over the summer? If your child will be participating in activities that require more careful symptom management, such as summer school or camp, it might be better to continue his or her medication, at least during these activities.
  • Is your child experiencing side effects? If your child is having bothersome side effects from his or her medication, such as decreased appetite or difficulty sleeping, summer may be a good time to adjust the dose or try a different medication. Stopping the medication over the summer may also be considered if symptoms do not interfere with the child's ability to function.
Keep in mind that it is important to talk to your child's healthcare provider before changing any of your child's medications. Working together with you and your child, he or she will be able to recommend the best summer treatment option for your child.
If medications are stopped over the summer, talk to your healthcare provider about the best time to restart them before school starts. Some medications may need to be started a couple of weeks in advance.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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