Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can occur in both adults and children. The treatment of ADHD is usually with stimulants such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, and dextroamphetamine. The FDA has also approved a non-stimulant medication known as atomoxetine to treat ADHD.
Common side effects of ADHD medication
In comparison to some medications, ADHD medications have very minor side effects. If the side effects are bothersome to the person the dosage may be lowered by the physician which can take care of some of the side effects. Side effects of ADHD medication include:
- Headaches and stomachaches
- Development of sudden, repetitive movements or sounds better known as tics
- Decreased appetite, especially during the middle of the day but often children are hungry by dinner time as medication has worn off.
- Sleep problems
How should take ADA medications
ADHD medication can come in several forms including powder, patch, or pill. These medications can either be long acting medications or short acting medications. Long acting medications are generally taken once a day usually before school. It is up to the doctor and the child’s parents to determine whether or not the child needs medication just a concentrate during school hours or for the evening hours as well. If it is determined that the child only needs medication for during school hours, a long acting medication may be prescribed.
Because ADHD medications are designed to help people focus, learn, and work they help control impulsive and hyperactive behavior. Children taking ADHD medication should be closely monitored as everyone reacts differently.
Is it safe to take ADHD medication long-term?
Some teens and children who take ADHD medication may say that they feel off or different. However, stimulant medications that are given under a doctor’s supervision are completely safe. Despite concerns about drug abuse and dependence, there is little evidence to show that teens taking ADHD medication will develop a drug problem later. As a matter of fact, research has indicated that teens who take stimulant medications for ADHD are actually less likely to abuse drugs than those that do not.
FDA warnings for ADHD medication
The FDA has issued some warnings about rare side effects that may occur while taking ADHD medication. Patients who have heart conditions and take ADHD medications are at a slightly higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, and sudden death while taking the medication. A review in 2007 also found that there is a very slight risk for medication related psychiatric problems such as hallucinations, becoming manic, or becoming suspicious for no reason. The findings were discovered in patients who had no history of psychiatric problems. Because of this, the FDA has recommended that any treatment plan for ADHD include a full assessment of family history to look for in psychiatric problems. The FDA also recommends that a full health history of the patient be taken to look for existing heart conditions as well.
The FDA has also issued a warning about the non-stimulant ADHD medication commonly known as Strattera. This warning is about increased suicidal thoughts and tendencies in children and teenagers who take Strattera. It is suggested that parents of these children and teens watch the behavior closely and moved to notify their doctor of any sudden changes in their behavior. Changes in behavior can include:
- New or worsening depression
- Feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless
- Acting withdrawn from social situations
- Panic attacks
- Extreme morning
- Trouble sleeping
- Acting without thinking
- Extreme increase in talking or activity
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Frenzied, abnormal excitement
Parent should take note and report any sudden changes in behavior to the physician immediately.