ADHD Home > Alternatives to Ritalin LA

If the drug is not effective in treating ADHD, or if bothersome side effects develop, alternatives to Ritalin LA may be considered. Common alternatives include other ADHD medications and lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes generally include a well-balanced treatment plan that consists of social, educational, and mental therapy. Other alternatives to Ritalin LA medications include other stimulant medicines, non-stimulant medicines, and off-label medications.

Alternatives to Ritalin LA: An Overview

Ritalin LA® is a prescription medication used for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The drug is part of a group of ADHD medications called stimulants. In general, the medication is effective in treating ADHD symptoms, and most children tolerate it quite well. However, as with all medicines, side effects can occur, or the medicine may not adequately control ADHD. Fortunately, several alternatives to Ritalin LA are available.
Some of these alternatives include:
  • Lifestyle changes, including therapy
  • Other stimulant ADHD medications
  • Non-stimulant ADHD medications
  • Off-label medications.

Alternatives to Ritalin LA: Lifestyle Changes

Whether or not ADHD medications are used, several steps can be taken to help children with the condition. Helping the child develop a routine is often useful, as is developing systems to keep the child organized (such as notebooks or binders for homework). Be sure to talk to your child's school about a 504 plan. A 504 plan (named after the law that requires public schools to accommodate children with disabilities) outlines the steps the school will take to help your child do his or her best at school. The 504 plan also addresses how your child will receive medication at school.
Any behavioral change involves a well-balanced ADHD treatment plan, including social, educational, and mental therapy. Several different types of therapy for ADHD are available, including:
  • Psychotherapy
  • Behavior therapy
  • Social skills training
  • Support groups
  • Parenting skill training
  • Behavioral interventions.
Sometimes, only the child with ADHD needs counseling support. In many cases -- because the problem affects the family as a whole -- the entire family may need help. If lifestyle changes alone are not effective in improving symptoms of ADHD, medications (such as Ritalin LA) may be necessary.
(Click Behavior Therapy for ADHD for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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