How Do I Measure Whether Medication For ADHD is Working?

Harold Robert Meyer 7/17/2023


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that affects millions of children and adults worldwide. ADHD can make it difficult for individuals to focus, pay attention, and control their impulses, which can lead to problems at school, work, and in social situations. While there is no cure for ADHD, medication can help manage symptoms and improve daily functioning. But how can you tell if the medication is working? In this article, we will discuss the factors to consider when measuring ADHD medication effectiveness, symptoms to monitor, tracking progress, medication side effects to watch for, the importance of consulting with a healthcare professional, alternative treatments, medication management tips for caregivers, and the future of ADHD medication.

Introduction to ADHD medication

For some, ADHD medication can help reduce symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, allowing individuals to focus better, be less impulsive, and complete tasks more efficiently. However, medication does not cure ADHD and may not work for everyone. Monitoring symptoms and tracking progress are essential to determine whether the medication is effective.

The importance of consulting with a healthcare professional

Consulting with a healthcare professional is essential when managing ADHD medication. They can help determine the best type of medication for an individual, adjust the dosage, and monitor for side effects.

Factors to consider when measuring ADHD medication effectiveness

Your prescriber must be consulted before and during the administration of medication. If you have tried medications for ADHD for which you’ve not found success, and if you have allergies or had negative reactions to any medications, let your doctor know at your first appointment. At each visit, provide a complete list of all medication, over-the-counter drugs, and recreational chemicals, along with their strengths and regimens

When measuring the effectiveness of ADHD medication, you and your prescriber will consider several factors. These factors include the type of medication, dosage, timing, and duration of treatment. It is also important to consider the individual’s age, weight, history, and health status.

Some individuals may respond better to one type of medication, while others may respond better to another. The dosage of the medication is also important. Too little medication may not be effective, while too much medication can lead to side effects.

The timing of medication is another crucial factor to consider. ADHD medication should be taken at the same time every day (or as instructed) to maintain consistent levels in the bloodstream. The duration of treatment is also important. ADHD medication is usually taken for an extended period, and it may take several weeks to see the full effects.

(Do not change the dosage or timing from what your doctor has prescribed)

Symptoms to monitor when measuring medication effectiveness

In order to measure ADHD medication effectiveness, you must monitor symptoms based on your doctor’s advice and your observations. Your pharmacy should also be able to provide input.

Be informed before you begin. The symptoms to monitor will depend on the individual’s specific ADHD subtype and other factors. For example, individuals with predominantly inattentive ADHD may have difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, and disorganization. Individuals with predominantly hyperactive-impulsive ADHD may have trouble sitting still, be fidgety, and interrupt others. Other symptoms to monitor include mood changes, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, and physical side effects such as headaches or stomach aches. It is important to communicate any changes in symptoms with a healthcare professional to determine whether adjustments to medication are necessary.

Tracking progress with ADHD medication

Tracking progress is an essential part of measuring the effectiveness of ADHD medication. Several ways to track progress include keeping a medication diary, such as the Kerch rating scale, and regular check-ins with a healthcare professional. A symptom diary is a useful tool for tracking changes in symptoms over time. It can be helpful to record the time of day, the type of activity, and any triggers that may have affected symptoms. Rating scales are also useful for tracking progress.

Regular check-ins with a healthcare professional are also important for tracking progress. Healthcare professionals can help determine whether the medication is working and make any necessary adjustments to the dosage or medication type.

ADHD medication side effects to watch for

While ADHD medication can be effective in managing symptoms, it can also have side effects. Common side effects of ADHD medication could include loss of appetite, change in weight, sleep disturbances, and mood changes. Other side effects may include stomachaches, headaches, and increased heart rate. Speak with your prescriber about the side effects to look for.

Contacting a healthcare professional immediately is important if there are unwanted side effects or the medication interferes with daily functioning. If you are unsure whether to mention something to your doctor, ask! No question is “stupid.” They may adjust the medication dosage or switch to a different type of medication.

Healthcare professionals can help determine the best type of medication, adjust the dosage, and monitor for side effects.

Communicating any changes in symptoms or side effects with your healthcare professional is essential. They can help determine whether adjustments to medication are necessary. Healthcare professionals can also provide additional support and resources for managing ADHD symptoms.

ADHD Coaching can help individuals learn coping strategies and improve social and communication skills. Mindfulness training can help individuals learn to focus and reduce stress. Dietary changes may include eliminating certain foods or adding supplements.

ADHD medication management tips for caregivers

Caregivers of individuals with ADHD may also need to manage medication. Caregivers should also monitor for side effects and communicate any changes in symptoms with healthcare professionals.

It is also important to provide a structured environment and establish routines to help individuals with ADHD manage their symptoms. This may include setting up a designated study area or establishing a consistent bedtime routine.

ADHD medication​ costs​

If the prescribed medication is not covered by your insurance carrier or is in short supply, check with your doctor if there is an alternative. If you can’t afford your medication, check​

The future of ADHD medication

Researchers are currently working on developing new medications and treatments that might be more effective and have fewer side effects. As research continues, it is essential to communicate with healthcare professionals and stay informed about new treatments and medications. Be an informed consumer.

Alternative and supplemental treatments for ADHD

While medication can be helpful in managing ADHD symptoms, there might be alternative treatments available. These treatments may include behavioral therapy, mindfulness training, ADHD coaching, and dietary changes. Your prescriber might suggest one or more of these treatments in place of or in addition to medication.


For some, ADHD medication can be an effective tool in managing symptoms and improving daily functioning.

Tracking progress with a symptom diary or rating scale and regular check-ins with a healthcare professional can help determine whether medication is effective. It is also important to monitor for side effects and communicate any changes in symptoms with a healthcare professional. 

Articles on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition.

This information may not be complete, accurate, or up-to-date, so be sure to speak with your healthcare provider before taking any action.
The ADD Resource Center – – +1 646/205.8080

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