Side effects of ADHD medications

ADHD patients always choose medication treatment as the key way to deal with ADHD. It is apparent that this treatment is helpful for many people to catch up with other normal people. However, the ADHD patients should have serious consideration of the minus points that ADHD medications bring about.


The survey from Quintiles Inc – a drug company of Falls Church carried out with 325 ADHD patients shows that 48 % of them have at least one problem when using the medication treatment as appetite, sleep problems or emotional problem. 21% of them are bothersome and extremely bothersome while only 20% of ADHD patients tell that they only have problem with their physicians when using the drug. So what are the real side effects of using medication treatments?

  1. Sleep problem
  2. Eating issue
  3. Emotional problem
  4. ADHD medications and tics
  5. Rebound
  6. Some other issues

1. Sleep problem

Sleep issue is the significant problem of many ADHD patients. The medication especially the long-acting medication is active at bedtime, so people with ADHD will be kept awake in wee hours. The short-acting formula merely keeps the children awake for two or three hours later in comparison with the normal time schedule while the long one which lasts effectively for over 12 hours, the time for sleeping will be seriously harmed. If the added dose causes the opposite reaction, the patients can become wired. It is when sleeping becomes a serious problem.

ADHD medications

This issue can be improved by time when the children have got more familiar with the medicines. The ADHD patients can have to bear this issue for about six weeks to be adjusted. The ADHD children awaked can be over stimulated. They can stay hours in front of TV screen or computer. The adults with ADHD can stay awake without doing anything.

The ADHD patients can solve the problem themselves by using the Benadryl before bedtime. Benadryl is not a pill for sleeping; it can help the ADHD patients to sleep within an hour if they stay in darkness. The ADHD patients can solve by wear off the dose at 4pm, but the symptoms can flare at night. If this situation really appears, the ADHD patients should go to check with their doctor and ask for the non-stimulant medicines.

Hyperactive ADHD medications

In particular, some ADHD patients can fall asleep all the time. This is also another side effect of ADHD medications. The medication treatment used for different people will have different effects. Therefore, the ADHD patients should pay attention to it closer or even have a check with doctor for their strange impact.

The healthy bedtime activities which help the ADHD patients relax should be set up as brushing, reading or bathing. The ADHD patients should pay attention to the amount of caffeine take-in daily, which is harmful for their sleep. Coffee, tea and sodas should be limited. They should also turn of the TV, computer and mobile phones to get easier to sleep. Some researchers report that the blue-light emitting electronics as compute and cellphones can cut the melatonin as well as the natural sleep down. Besides, snoring or irregular breathing can be a sign for the unhealthy physician. If the ADHD patients snore, the oxygen reaching the brain is lower than the normal, which is worth to be minded.

2. Eating issue

picky-eater ADHD medications

Along with sleep problem, the ADHD patients can loss the appetite to eat due to ADHD medication. This negative impact can be met universally; it seems that none of the ADHD patients can avoid this issue when they use medication. For the growing ADHD patients, the parents can see their child stop eating. Loss of appetite is more serious to the ADHD adolescents especially to the male ones. The female because of the weight can be satisfied with appetite but for the male, lack of appetite will stop them from their growth, which is alarmingly frustrating.

The breakfast seems to go through quietly because the medicines have not kicked in. The lunch and dinner can be a serious problem. The ADHD patients often become hungry around when the medicines wear off.

Picky-Eating-May-Signal-Anxiety-Depression-ADHD-ADHD medications

The best way to solve this issue is to boost appetite in the middle of day about 6 or 7pm. For instance, the ADHD patients should have a nutritious breakfast before the time the medicines kick off. Then they should not eat anything until the next dose is around 5pm. It is time that the ADHD patients will become hungry and desire for food after the whole day of no food take-in.

Despite the loss of food, the ADHD patients do love drinking. The ADHD patients can make use of this point to supply them with enough nutrition. The parents can give their ADHD children the food supplement drink rather than the nutritionally empty snacks. The beverages as Pediasure or Ensure with many flavors are the wonderful choices for the ADHD patients.

ADHD medications

The solution for the loss of appetite is including medication after breakfast, so they will feel hungry for the breakfast. The food should be available in whole day so that the ADHD patients can eat whenever they feel hungry. If the ADHD patients have balanced diet with high-caloric foods and drinks but still lose weight, the doctor should intervene.

If all these solutions do not work to improve the problems, the ADHD patients should ask the doctor. They can advise you to change the stimulant ADHD medications or move to the non-stimulant ones.

3. Emotional problems

The study carried out in the US with 83 people concludes that 23 of them always feel alone, 27 of them have DESR and 33 of them have both issues. The child can begin to look sedated or zombie-like, tearful and irritable. When the dosage stays too high, the ADHD patients or only the children but the adult also can become spacey or zombie-like. The ADHD patients are also found to develop depression especially the disorder than the normal children.

The different impact can be caused also. The patients can become moody and irritable when they do not take the stimulant ADHD medications. And the problem goes away when they take it.

depression_woman_ADHD medications

If this happens, the ADHD patients can change the stimulants into a different one or even the non-stimulant if the issues becomes more regularly and seriously.

The most effective way to tackle this problem is cutting down the number of daily dose. If there is any issue coming up with the reduction of dosage, the ADHD patients should ask the doctor about moving to the other stimulants or non-stimulants.

4. ADHD medications and tics

The muscular contractions that ADHD patients can cause involve the eyes, neck, shoulders and mouth. The muscles in the throat are damaged; the tic can cause sniffing, snorting and coughing. The ADHD patients can start undergoing tics after some days using the particular medicines.

Ritalin-and- ADHD medications

The medicines which can cause the tics problems are:

  • Atomoxetine: the norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Norepinephrine is the essential natural substance in the brains which is used for controlling behavior.
  • Clonidine and guanfacine: the alpha-adrenergic agonists. They are used to decrease the high blood pressure. This is the medicine to treat for those who have little problem of blood pressure.

If the problem comes to tics, the ADHD patients should immediately stop using the medication treatment and try another one. Tics often disappear within several weeks.

5. Rebound

After the last dose of the day wears off, the ADHD patients can have 30-60 minutes of hyperactivity, impulsivity and nonstop talking. The parents of ADHD children call it the “rebound effect”. After the drugs take off, the child will act irritably and aggressively at a certain moment of day. Rebound happens because after the drugs wear off, the receptors in the brain are suddenly lack of medication, the child become to act as a normal ADHD child with no treatment. The adults have similar reason and process.

Crazy Child with Painted Face ADHD medications

The ADHD patients can choose to use a smaller dose before the time rebound happens. This will help their brain to step by step get used to the lack of medicine.

Rebound happening can be the sign that the dose of this person is too high and must be decreased. Furthermore, the ADHD patients should consider the effectiveness of their medicine to ensure that these ADHD medications are still working well or not. The children with rebound should be checked carefully because they can have other issues like anxieties or mood issues.

6. Some other side effects

  • Delayed growth: Taking ADHD medications can suppress child’s appetite, which can badly harm the physical development. The latest study shows that the ADHD kids will have slower growth in 2 years in comparison with their peers. However, the parents can choose the exact time for their children using drugs. It is called the drug holiday.

struggling-reading ADHD medications

  • Blood pressure and heart disease. The stimulants can raise the blood pressure and heart rate of ADHD patients. The study in 2006 of FDA reports that over 300 ADHD patients died suddenly, 26 incidents had symptoms as heart attacks, strokes and arrhythmias.
  • Abuse and addiction.
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Stomachaches and headaches

Two key factors to minimize the downside of ADHD medications:

  • The right dosage can decide the side effects that ADHD patients can meet. Stimulants can bring the levels of two main chemicals in brain: dopamine and norepinephrine. The correct amount of dopamine and norepinephrine will help the ADHD patients have positive improvement. However, the overuse will create the side effects.
  • The different people will have different impacts. There are two main types of ADHD medications in terms of formulas: methylphenidate-based medicine and dextroamphetamine-based medications. To the time of effectiveness, there are two kinds also. The short and long acting ADHD medications. The short acting medication treatments can last for 3 hours while the long can wear off after 14 hours or more. The ADHD patients can switch medications and formulas to avoid the side effects.

In conclusion, the ADHD medications  have not only positively effectiveness but also the side impacts. However, these side effects can be managed by the suitable dosage and schedule. The ADHD patients also need time to get familiar with the drugs. The final solution for ADHD patients as well as parents of ADHD children is that they should call the doctor and ask for advice if their problems are not improved.

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