Side effects of ADHD meds
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is considered a chronic mental health problem, which is amenable to pharmacotherapy. The use of ADHD meds improves peer relationships, academic performance and behavior problems. However, the benefits may be accompanied by side effects, though not in every patient.
Regardless of whether you are a patient or a parent, you should take justified decisions on what is best for the child’s of your health. Proper use of ADHD meds helps children and adults to control neurobehavioral disorders with minimal risk of side effects.
To make the use of drugs both effective and safe, you first need to:
• Familiarize yourself with the list of possible side effects.
• Know how to manage adverse reactions when they become a problem.
ADHD meds are most frequently prescribed to children, so many parents are concerned about the safety issue. They have a reason for this. Unfortunately, adverse reactions occurring after the use of stimulants or non-stimulants of the CNS are fairly common, though these are usually not severe.
Adults also can use ADHD meds. They manifest side effects not so often. This is due to the fact that they started ADHD pharmacotherapy in childhood or adolescence. It is generally known that such reactions typically occur at the beginning of treatment or during the daily dose corrections.
Frequent and rare side effects
Most of the adverse effects, associated with pharmacotherapy for ADHD, reflect the initial response of the body to the drug. Typically, such reactions are mild, not dangerous for health and disappear within a few days or weeks after the beginning of treatment.
Possible common side effects during the use of ADHD meds include:
• Decreased appetite
• Weight reduction
• Dry mouth
As a rule, the incidence of adverse reactions does not depend on the patient’s age. However, clinical trials have shown that:
• Weight reduction happens more often in children, than in adults.
• Dry mouth often occurs in adults, than in children.
Erectile dysfunction is an unpleasant side effect of ADHD meds in adult men. Despite some concern over this effect, long-term studies have not confirmed this as being a common problem.
In children and adults using the ADHD meds, rare side effects may include:
These and other undesirable effects may be serious enough to make patients discontinue treatment. However, pharmacotherapy discontinuation is not the only decision that is taken in case of side effects.
What to do if a patient notices side effects?
The use of ADHD meds usually provides significant therapeutic advantages. If the pharmacotherapy causes unexpected reactions, this is not an excuse to stop the treatment.
Experts in the treatment of ADHD tend to believe that side effects are easily to manage, if patient:
• Changes the dosage.
• Uses another release form.
• Changes the type of drug used.
Side effects may be an indication that you are using too high a dose of the drug, though not in every case. However, reducing the daily dose allows lowering the intensity and severity of the majority of adverse effects.
Today, you can buy ADHD meds as immediate-release or extended-release pills. If a patient uses sustained-release pills instead of the conventional pills, or vice versa, some side effects can be controlled.
If the side effects of ADHD meds are long-term or serious ones, you may need a different medicine. It is believed that the CNS stimulants (e.g., Ritalin) often cause mood disturbances. Patients using non-stimulants (e.g., Strattera) often suffer from gastrointestinal disturbances.