Medication for ADHD and Dyslexia

At the recent scientific meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, a study was released which documented that Strattera improved ADHD and Reading Disorder (dyslexia). I will summarize this study here, but if you want to read the full report, please visit here.

In this study, children aged 10-16 were treated with Strattera for their ADHD for 16 weeks. There were two main groups – children who had ADHD alone, compared to children who had ADHD plus a Reading Disorder (Dyslexia).

At the end of the study, there was approximately a 50% improvement in ADHD symptoms in both groups.

The interesting difference came when looking at improvement in reading scores. The ADHD and Reading Disorder group had a 2 year improvement in their reading scores, compared to a 17 month improvement in the ADHD group.

Although Strattera is not approved for the treatment of Reading Disorder/Dyslexia, these are encouraging results.


  1. I have a 10 year old son, who has ADHD as well as a reading disorder. He is taking Aderall Xr. Will this medication give the same results as the strattera? Or should I look at making a change in meds?
    Thanks. Angie

  2. Angie,

    Thank you for the great question.

    If your son has ADHD and a Reading Disorder (dyslexia) and he is
    taking Adderall XR, the question you need to ask is:

    Is he doing great with the treatment we have in place now?

    If the answer is yes, then there is no need to change the medicine.

    If the answer is no, then you need to evaluate all aspects of the treatment:
    1) what supports are in place for the learning disability
    2) what strategies is the school using to help with academic success
    3) what are you doing at home to help
    4) and the medication

    One main point I want you to understand is how scientific information is discovered: It is one study at a time, and each study has to be evaluated in the context of all of the previous studies.

    So, just because this study shows that Strattera helps ADHD with Reading Disorder (Dyslexia), doesn’t mean that you should stop your son’s Adderall XR and switch him to Strattera, especially if he is doing well with the current medicine.

    I hope that helps.

  3. Thank you for answering my question so quickly. My son is doing very well on his meds, and the school is doing a great job supporting him. I will look forward to future studies on this .

    Thanks again

  4. My question is can you take ADHD medication and still pilot a commercial aircraft? I know you don’t deal with adults but I was hoping you could answer the quesstion or point me in the right direction. My friend is a commercial pilot and feels he may have ADHD, but is afraid to ask anyone about this, for fear he may loose his job.
    Thanks, Angie

  5. About the question on becoming a pilot the answer is no. But however if you can prove to a doctor that you can function without your medican you will still have a chance. This is what happened to me.

  6. My nephew has ADHD he’s 7 yrs old and not doing very well in school. The sad thing is that the teachers said that he’s very intelligent the problem is he can’t concentrate on the lectures and end up doing other things doing class.

    I’ll recommend this article to his parents , unfortunately their still in denial , the clung on to the fact that he’s very intelligent and kept filtering out the fact that he’s ADHD

  7. Dr.

    I am a certified academic language therapist who works with this population everyday. I am very familiar with this medication and others. I SEE them at work. It is my opinion that Strattera can be effective for some people but not for a large majority of them. It doesn’t seem to work for a very long period of time. It appears to “wear off” over a few months. I have written a book called, OF DIFFERENT MINDS, ( that explains all dimensions of these disorders and how they affect the whole family as well as the individuals that are suffering from them. I believe that meds. are a great tool in coping and increasing the learning potential but unfortunately strattera has not proven to help the masses that it claims.

    Parents must remember to get proper testing to be sure what learning differences that they are really dealing with and to what severity. To get a true and accurate diagnosis a parent MUST go to a Neuro- psychiatrist or a neurologist that specializes only in this population. Otherwise parents and children may find themselves on the medication merry-go-round. These specialists will give the proper doses and success is more long lasting.

    I look forward to your comments.

  8. I am a 20 year old male with dyslexia ADD and ADHD. I am currently on adderall xr 30mg, but it does not seem to be doing much. I have tried maybe 8 to 12 other drugs with the same result. my question is what medication would you suggest for me to consult my doctor about?

  9. Hello I am a 16 year old female and I’m really starting to suspect that I have some form of dyslexia and my family thinks I am ADD. I’m not really sure how to get tested or how to even ask for help on these. I have gone through symptoms of both and am very fearful of having either of these or both because if I do, it would explain a lot of trouble with things like learning and what not that I’ve had all my life. How do you think I should proceed or what might help. Thank you so much.

  10. My daughter is on strattera but says it gives her a pain in her chest. Is this a side effect that is common. We have stopped taking it because we are concerned

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