BrandpointContent – Rethink ADHD Drug Holidays Leave a comment

Getting back into the swing of things for this year’s return to school may be a challenge after more than 18 months away, and even more so for children living with ADHD. But caregiver concerns about ADHD are not just limited to the school year. Some parents and/or caregivers opt for a “medication vacation” or “drug holiday” to give their children a break from treatment during the summer.

How to approach taking a drug holiday makes all the difference in managing ADHD. Seeking guidance from a healthcare professional is always the first step, but here are some things to know while your family is planning summer activities and preparing to transition into the upcoming school year.

Why parents/doctors consider ADHD drug holidays/medication vacation

Drug holidays are known as deliberate interruptions of pharmacotherapy for a defined period of time and for a specific clinical purpose and may vary from short breaks such as weekends, to longer breaks like summer vacation.1 Especially for children whose ADHD is managed with a controlled substance, parents may opt to take a break from the treatment while school is not in session.

ADHD is more than a school issue

Parents who helped their kids with virtual school during the pandemic may have seen the value of their children remaining on medication. If your child is returning to their ADHD medication regimen, it’s best to consult with your health care provider to consider the best time of day to take their medication to optimize effectiveness. Even for kids with ADHD that excel in school, the return of afterschool activities, completing daily chores or even learning how to drive may be a struggle.

Timing is everything

The beginning of the school year may not be the best time to make any big or drastic changes in your child’s treatment regimen. They will already be faced with new teachers and classes and perhaps a new school with new friends, especially following a year of virtual learning. It’s important to speak with your doctor to determine the best plan to resume your child’s medication before heading back to school.

No two kids are created equal

Your child is constantly developing and changing from year to year, so it’s important to pay attention to behaviors, changes to their response to medication and how they managed while being on a drug holiday. Consult with your physician when considering if a medication vacation is right for your child.

Other ADHD medication options

Nearly 6.1 million children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with ADHD2 and many may potentially be in need of new options for treatment.

Qelbree™ is a new, non-controlled medication approved for the treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents, aged 6-17. Talking honestly with your child’s healthcare provider is key to coming up with the best treatment plan.

For additional safety information and to learn more, visit to sign up for updates.


Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors:

  • Qelbree may increase suicidal thoughts and actions in some children with ADHD, especially within the first few months of treatment or when the dose is changed.
  • Help prevent suicidal thoughts and actions in your child or adolescent by paying close attention to any new or sudden changes in mood, behavior, thoughts, and feelings. Call your child’s doctor right away or get emergency help if there are any new or sudden changes (e.g., attempts to commit suicide, depression, agitation or restlessness, insomnia, acting aggressive, angry or violent, an extreme increase in activity and talking, thoughts about suicide or dying, anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, acting on dangerous impulses, and other unusual changes in behavior or mood).
    • Your child should not take Qelbree if they: take a medicine for depression called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days; or take alosetron, duloxetine, ramelteon, tasimelteon, tizanidine, or theophylline.
    • Tell your child’s doctor about all your child’s medical conditions, such as: a personal or family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, depression, mania or hypomania, blood pressure or heart rate problems, severe kidney or liver problems.
    • Before taking Qelbree, tell your doctor if your child is or plans to become pregnant or, is or plans to breastfeed. You and your child’s doctor will decide if your child should take Qelbree.
    • Tell your doctor about all medicines your child takes or recently has taken. Qelbree and other medicines may affect each other causing possible serious side effects. Do not start or stop any medicines while taking Qelbree without talking to your child’s doctor first.
    • Do not let your teen drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Qelbree will affect them. Qelbree may cause your teen to feel sleepy or tired.
    • Qelbree can increase blood pressure and heart rate. Your child’s doctor will monitor these vital signs.
    • Qelbree may cause manic episodes in patients with bipolar disorder. Tell your child’s doctor if they show any signs of mania.
    • The most common side effects of Qelbree include sleepiness, not feeling hungry, feeling tired, nausea, vomiting, trouble sleeping, and irritability. These are not all the possible side effects of Qelbree.
    • You may report negative side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or visit
    • Please see Medication Guide at


  1. Ibrahim K, Donyai P. What stops practitioners discussing medication breaks in children and adolescents with ADHD? Identifying barriers through theory-driven qualitative research. Atten Defic Hyperact Disord. 2018;10(4):273-283. doi:10.1007/s12402-018-0258-9
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, November 16). Data and Statistics About ADHD. Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder. (ADHD),children%20aged%206%E2%80%9311%20years%22%20. Accessed July 12, 2021.

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