Safe and effective medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is available and recommended as first-line treatment for the core symptoms of inattention, overactivity and impulsiveness. Despite impaired functioning during adolescence, many discontinue medication treatment. For children, healthcare decisions are usually made by the parent; older youth make their own decisions. Beliefs and attitudes may differ widely. Some families understand that ADHD is a neurobiological condition and accept that medication is indicated, for others, such treatment is unacceptable. Converging evidence describes negative perceptions of the burden associated with medication use as well as concerns about potential short and long term adverse effects. Indeed experiences of adverse effects are a frequent explanation for discontinuation among youth. Ways to improve shared decision making among practitioners, parents and youth, and to monitor effectiveness, safety and new onset of concurrent difficulties are likely to optimize outcomes.