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Treatment Q&A

1. What should I pay attention to when my students begin their medication use?

Psychiatrists typically initiate dosage titration – beginning with a low dosage and gradually adjusting the dose to determine the optimal medical treatment plan for each patient. Dose titration can take up to 6-8 weeks. Teachers can assist psychiatrists in making accurate prescription and treatment arrangements by observing the following behaviors in students treated with medication and informing their parents the following information:​

  • Performance before medication – e.g. performance in class, academic achievements, assignment submission record etc.

  • Effectiveness of medication in the morning – is there a reduction in ADHD symptoms (e.g. longer attention span, reduced impulsive behavior or reduced hyperactivity)

  • Side effects - appetite loss, headache, abdominal or stomach upset, fatigue (due to sleep disturbance), nausea/vomiting, dizziness, increase resting heart rate or emotionally sensitive etc.

When medication wears off – negative emotions, fatigue or rebound of ADHD symptoms etc.

2. Should students be trying different alternative treatments?

Please discuss with psychiatrists for professional advice.
A meta-analysis (Sonuga-Barke et al., 2013) in the American journal of Psychiatry Journal reported that many non-pharmacological and alternative treatments (e.g. restricted elimination diets, neurofeedback trainings and attention/ working memory cognitive trainings) showed no significant effects in reducing ADHD symptoms. The effectiveness of some other treatments (e.g. free fatty acid supplements (e.g. DHA) or artificial food color exclusions) was small or limited to certain people.  According to the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline, health professionals are not recommended to advise supplements or elimination of certain diets. Patients should discuss with psychiatrists before attempting alternative treatments to avoid unnecessary costs in health, time, and money.

3. Should students only take medications during test and exam periods?

Please discuss with psychiatrists for professional advice.

Medication treatment is most effective if a patient fully adheres to the instructions of the psychiatrist. Stopping or reducing medication during treatment course may cause harm or withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, when medication side effects or other factors trigger the consideration to take drug holiday or dose reduction, consult professional opinions from a psychiatrist before amending the treatment plan.

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