ADHD Medications: Typical Complaints & Solutions
Not eating - Allow healthy snacks; during summer break they often make-up for lost growth; eat by the clock vs. hungry; if still OK on growth chart, don't worry.
Mid-late morning behavior problems - Adjust dose timing - at-home + mid-morn. doses; change to longer lasting medication.
After school behavior problems - Was noon dose given?; Change to long-lasting form.Very irritable mid-late afternoon - Same as just above.
After 4-6 weeks meds. not working as well – Called “acclimation phenomenon”; increase dose
Trouble falling asleep - Make dosage time earlier, or, amount smaller.
Still can’t get up, wake-up mornings - Give pre-awakening dose; re-review sleep problems for possible solutions.
More withdrawn, crying, angry - Lower dose or change medication.
Too zoned-out; very tired - Same as just above.Headaches; stomach pain - Try Tylenol and/or Pepto-Bismol, wait 1 week; maybe just initial reaction (not uncommon).
Refuses to take it - Do more education; discuss their resistance: Stigma?; How it makes them feel?; Trouble swallowing pills?; Feel it's "controlling" them?Nothing happened after 1 month! - Should have increased dose after 1-2 weeks!
Uncertain what to expect? - Get education from doctor, Internet.Helped some problems, not others - Depends on which symptoms it helped and which it didn't; Discuss with doctor; Consider different medication or second medication. Re-check diagnosis.
Medication effects don't last long enough - Dose maybe too low; Consider longer lasting form; most meds. last from 6 to 12 hrs.; individual metabolism varies & effects med. duration.Feel too "revved-up", or shaky - Dose too high; Wrong med.?
Skin itches a lot - Dose too high; Wrong med.; try lotion or Vit. E capsules; stimulants can cause skin dryness.Everything is much worse - Wrong med.; re-check diagnosis; most ADHD people have at least one co-occurring condition.
Can't swallow pills! - Try new liquid form or patch; if capsule, try sprinkling over food.Pharmacist says ADHD meds. are all the same, or, all forms of Ritalin (methylphenidate) are the same - Absolutely FALSE! Different ADHD people tend to respond best to different meds., and, to different formulations of the same med., e.g., Concerta vs. Ritalin LA.
Don’t have insurance; can’t afford meds. – Look on drug manufacturer web site for “Patient Assistance Program” (PAP), or, call their 800#. PAP’s provide meds. at low cost depending on income.I’m afraid about what others say about side-effects – All substances, whether prescribed meds. or “supplements” have side-effects. The vast majority of truly problem side-effects from ADHD meds. occur due to incomplete or mis-diagnosis, and lack of prescriber knowledge about ADHD and how ADHD meds. work. If your prescriber is a specialist in ADHD or very knowledgeable about ADHD and how ADHD meds. work, you should be able to avoid most if not all side-effects.
I’m concerned about long-term effects of ADHD Meds. – Ritalin has been on the market since 1954. Amphetamines have been used to treat ADHD about as long or longer. Although more well-done studies on long-term effects are needed, no significant problems have been documented to date. The very negative life-costs of not taking ADHD meds. has been well documented, e.g., higher rates of divorce, unemployment, injury, lower income.KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL ADHD MEDS. TRIALS:
1. Going to see an “ADHD Specialist.” Not just any old “doctor” or mental health professional will do.
2. Thorough diagnosis; including co-occurring conditions.
3. Monitoring responses.
5. Sticking with a “Specialist.”
6. Always consider diagnosis review/update.