Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. Take ADHD meds, for instance. If you are looking for a stimulant you have exactly two choices: amphetamines (like Adderall) or methylphenidate (Ritalin and its ilk).

That doesn’t stop the pharmaceutical companies from offering lots variations on these Schedule II class drugs. The medications are controlled by the FDA. And here it comes again:

Once-a-day amphetamine

Shire Pharmaceuticals announced it would begin distribution and marketing of Mydayis later this year.

Mydayis is a mixed amphetamine salt, available in once-a-day doses of 12.5, 25.0, 37.5 and 30 mg capsules. The medication takes effect within 2 to 4 hours. The effects last up to 18 hours. 

Eighteen hours? That’s a lot of stimulant for a long, long time. But folks complain often of forgetting to take that “second dose” of medication, so Mydayis may resolve that issue. Look for marketing to begin in the last quarter of the year. Mydayis approved only for use in adults and children over the age of 13.

Dissolves in your mouth

A second”new” stimulant drug is a methylphenidate derivative that dissolves in your mouth.

Neos Therapeutics, Inc. will launch “Cotempla XR-ODT” in the fall of 2017 (ODC stands for Orally Disintegrating Tablet). The FDA approved the new dissolving tablet for children ages 6-17. Ostensibly this makes it easier for children to take extended release ADHD medication.

Most slow release methylphenidate medications require swallowing the pill or capsule whole. If the pill is crushed or cut, the long release feature is lost, e.g. Concerta.

The Cotempla XR tablets will be dispensed in a “child resistant” blister pack, according to the press release from Neos.

It’s the delivery system – duh!

No matter what new name is conjured by the marketing crew (and I have first hand experience with this since I did it all the time in my ad agency), these two “new” drugs are still just Adderall (amphetamine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate).

The difference is in how the drug gets into your bloodstream, and eventually your brain. If a once-a-day stimulant could make the difference between productivity and playing video games, go for it (when Shire puts it on the pharmacy shelves). And if your child does well on Ritalin or Concerta or another methylphenidate stimulant but needs all day coverage, try Cotempla XL -ODT – (it might even work for adults – who knows?).