Chapter 17

How to Taper ADD, ADHD and Stimulant Medication

THE FDA HAS published approved guidelines for tapering off these medications. Those guidelines are what I published a decade ago and this approach is as effective now as it was in 1999.Reducing this class of medication is rather straightforward and usually does not cause a problem.

Reducing the Medication

Reduce the medication gradually and if side effects begin that are too severe, go back to the last dosage you were doing fine with, get stable again and then reduce the medication again, but this time at a slower reduction amount.

The above can seem too basic and too easy to understand for it to be misinterpreted. However, that is not the case.

Gradual – Most of us take the word gradual to mean slowly, but there is a need to give a good example of gradual. Imagine you are in an airplane that is about to descend for the landing. What would you like that landing to be like? Would you prefer to not feel the decent and when the plane touches the runway you do not even feel the tires touch ground? This is a landing where I have heard the passengers cheer and thank the pilot when they get off the plane. This is also the gradual landing we want for you when reducing your medication.

Gradual when tapering off a medication would be; a slow and steady decent that does not jar and bump the person reducing the drug. Gradual would also be a speed of reduction that would allow the person to still function in life and reduce to a minimum the chance of withdrawal side effects.

If you agree with the above, this removes the idea of skipping days of the medication in order to reduce the dosage and get off the drug. Skipping days or alternating from a higher dosage to a lower dosage every other day is not gradual. One only needs to examine the half-life of the medication to establish that datum. You go in withdrawal every other day and feel an overdose effect the days you are going back up on the dosage.

Never Skip Days of the Drug

All drugs in this class come in completely different dosages and with most being in a time-release the variances are too vast to list in a book of this type. We will first take what to do with a non-time release medication.


Non-Time Release Medication If you are taking a non-time release medication, reduce the medication as near to 10% as possible. You can get a pill slicer from a pharmacy to help with this. Every 14-days reduce the drug by another 10%. After 10 reductions of the drug you are drug free.

Time Release or Extended Release Medication There are specific dosages the drug is available in as a time release. After 7 days of the pretaper, you reduce the drug to the next lower available dosage. Every 14-days you should be able to reduce the drug again to the next available lower dosage. Continue with this method until completely off the drug. DO NOT OPEN THE CAPSULE AND REMOVE THE BALLS.