As part of my ongoing series to share family friendly handouts for ADHD and behavior, I am sharing the third installment of this series: Amphetamine Mixed Salts. If you missed my prior to blog posts about ADHD Medications and Behavior for Atomoxetine and Methylphenidate, please check them out too.

It is important to note that when pediatricians make the recommendation to start medication, it is only with specific understanding of the WHAT and WHY we are treating and ensuring families (parents and children) understand and have the opportunity to ask questions.

I love handouts because sometimes only one parent is present and the other parent/partner or extended family member(s) may have questions. It is important to share information in ways everyone can understand.

Amphetamine preparations or “mixed salts” are another type of stimulant medication that may be recommended or considered by your child’s doctor. It is important to note that there are a variety of medicines that fall under this category and it is ever-changing. However, when doctor recommend a “stimulant” medication, they are usually referring to either methylphenidate or amphetamine preparations.

In general, amphetamine preparations are dosed at half the starting dose of methylphenidate preparations. There are some differences between amphetamine medicines based on whether it is made of beads, pearls, or prodrug.  A “prodrug” means that the drug itself does not become active until the medicine is swallowed and “activated” by the body; therefore, these types take a little longer to take effect.

Your child’s doctor will discuss the various types of medicines that fall under this category. The decision is often based on the child’s day and the demands, sometimes if there is a way to dose it more than once a day, cost, and whether it is what is covered by insurance. There are various things to consider when choosing which one to start with. Please make sure to share your concerns about a particular medicine with your child’s doctor.


As always feel free to share with your child, with partners, with educators and with other providers. And remember to always consider keeping a Medication Log when starting or changing doses to help your child’s doctor understand whether the medicine is doing what it is supposed to be doing.

ALSO, advice given on my blog about medications is NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE by your child’s physician. Always talk to your child’s doctor directly about their thoughts on the appropriate medicine and other treatments for your child’s ADHD. Medicine is just one type of treatments available. 

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Written by

Nerissa Bauer

I am a behavioral pediatrician, consultant, child advocate and blogger. I am a wife, mommy to 2 amazing children and 2 golden retrievers. Love cooking, travel, reading, tap and creating.