Lotus Psychiatry and Wellness Center

LotusHow to Cope With Side Effects of ADHD Medication

How to Cope With Side Effects of ADHD Medication

Your healthcare provider will find a medication tailored specifically to you or your child that’s effective against ADHD. Most often these will include stimulant drugs that balance brain chemistry such as Ritalin (Ritalin, Concerta and Daytrana) or amphetamines such as Adderall/Dexedrine; nonstimulant treatments include Atomoxetine/antidepressants may also be considered options.

1. Nausea

ADHD medication typically comprises stimulants that work by increasing or balancing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain; such as methylphenidate and amphetamine. Nonstimulant treatments like atomoxetine and antidepressants may also be utilized as effective means of treating ADHD.

These medications may cause nausea and decrease appetite, raise blood pressure and heart rate, increase blood volume and cause fatigue or worsened ADHD symptoms (known as rebound effect) when they wear off.

To reduce side effects, take medication at the same time every day at a consistent time and speak to your doctor if nausea becomes severe. Exercise regularly – physical activity boosts levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain that are essential for maintaining focus and mood improvement; provide balanced meals and snacks on a regular basis; encourage your children to consume nutritious foods while engaging in healthy activities;

2. Headache

Headaches from antibiotic use may feel like an icepick in the back of the head and can last up to 72 hours, being made worse by certain foods and drinks (especially caffeine) such as coffee. If this side effect occurs for your child, ensure she takes her medications with water in an afternoon/evening dose, avoiding caffeinated drinks as much as possible during that time period.

Children may become irritable as medication wears off, due to poor appetite or sleep. Offering snacks throughout the day and encouraging regular physical activity to boost brain chemicals that control mood can help.

Stimulant medications may lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure; if this happens to your child, it’s essential that they consult their physician immediately as it could be time to change dosage, type or switch stimulants altogether.

3. Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the main side effects of ADHD medications, especially during their first few days or when increasing dosage levels. Many may feel especially lethargic upon beginning new medications or increasing dosage levels.

If a person notices these symptoms, they should inform their physician. He or she can then discuss which medications they’re taking and make adjustments as necessary.

Ask your doctor for long-acting or extended release versions of any prescribed medication to minimize ups and downs in symptoms, reduce fatigue, and potentially alleviate other factors contributing to ADHD such as antidepressants which might help manage ADHD symptoms more effectively.

4. Dizziness

Dizziness may occur as an adverse reaction of ADHD medications and last anywhere from seconds to days, often in response to movement, light, or changes in blood pressure or heart rate. It is most frequently triggered by movement or light.

If your child experiences frequent episodes of dizziness, consult with their physician immediately. He or she can adjust dosage or suggest other medicines that won’t cause dizziness.

Keep in mind that it’s vitally important for both you and your child to communicate fully with his or her doctor regarding any health conditions they are suffering from, including allergies, other diseases and any supplements or over-the-counter medications they are taking. Maintaining a diary of symptoms will allow both of you to monitor any changes more closely; also being helpful is finding out whether the dizziness occurs daily or only occasionally.

5. Vomiting

Medication used to treat ADHD may cause side effects that include upset stomach, appetite suppression (causing your child to want less food), headaches, dry mouth and sleep issues. While these side effects may be temporary, they can often be alleviated by changing dosage or medication type.

People taking stimulant medication may experience tics, or repetitive movements or sounds such as eye blinking and throat clearing, which can be triggered by certain foods or events. Furthermore, stimulant medications may cause minor growth reduction that does not alter final height.

Stimulant medications may increase blood pressure and heart rate, although this usually is not dangerous. Nonstimulant antidepressants like Wellbutrin (bupropion) and low dose tricyclic antidepressants may help reduce hyperactivity and impulsiveness without the side effects associated with stimulants.


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