ADHD is a very complex condition that needs a multidimensional approach in terms of treatment. Without a proper treatment course, achieving notable results and making sure that side effects of said treatments are minimal is impossible. Planning and estimating are both huge parts of designing a truly effective treatment plan for a child with ADHD.

Most medications aim at controlling various symptoms of ADHD including short attention span and hyperactivity. Using medications is never enough and combining them with solid behavioral correction therapies is key to success. A passionate teacher, optimal environment, right behavioral therapies, and appropriate drugs help in many scenarios.

ADHD Drugs

As mentioned above, there is no running away from medications when it comes to ADHD treatment. Some of the most popular meds in the market are:

  • SAS (short acting stimulants) like Adderall, Focalin, Ritalin, and Dexedrine;
  • IAS (Intermediate acting stimulants) like Ritalin SR and Metadate ER;
  • LAS (Long acting stimulants) like Adderall XR, Focalin XR, Metadate CD, Vivanse;
  • Other drugs like Strattera and Intuniv.

The correct choice of drugs to use is usually made based on a variety of factors related to the severity of the condition and how well a patient respond to certain drugs. However, the decision is relatively easy to make due to a distinct categorization of modern drugs that usually can be put under one of two categories – (1) methylphenidate and (2) amphetamines. Examples are:

  1. Ritalin containing drugs like Cocerta, Focalin, Metadate, Ritalin, and Daytrana.
  2. Amphetamine containing drugs like Adderall, Dexderine, and Vyvanse.

There are various possible modifications of drugs. Some of them are designed to last longer in the body and slowly deliver an effect while other drugs are for when-needed usage that act immediately. Depending on the markings on the package, you may hold in your hands a version of the drug with a prolonged mechanism of action or a regular pack. Meds don’t necessarily come in a form of tablet and can be used as patches.

Adverse Effects of Drugs

While these meds are designed to help children and often you simply cannot find an alternative, parents may be concerned about a possibility of encountering adverse effects. These concerns deserve to be taken seriously since some of drugs may cause unwanted symptoms including bothersome serious symptoms like sleep disorders, weight loss, pains, and headaches.

The vast majority of meds usually do not cause such troubles and symptoms rarely have a long lasting character. Side effect management usually comes down to simply lowering the dosage and trying different drugs from the same category.

In rare cases, patients treated with ADHD meds may experience truly concerning effects. Sudden mood changes, unexplainable anger, aggressive behavior, concerning calmness, and severe mood swings should all worry you. While these manifestations occur extremely rarely, it is highly recommended to visit the doctor in case of noticing anything alike.

Also extremely rare side effects:

  • Problems with heart may cause various problems including fatality. Life threatening complications in patients may occur if they have arrhythmia and/or structural cardio problems. If your child has any issues with heart, discuss it with your doctor before starting a course of ADHD drugs.
  • Suicide is an uncommon yet obviously serious issue. Suicidal thoughts may occur in children due to using drugs like Strattera. Usually, monitoring mood changes and behavior is enough to manage this symptom.

Side effect management

ADHD symptoms may look like something serious but in many cases allowing your child to be slightly impulsive and hyperactive is completely normal. Depending on the severity of ADHD symptoms, you must choose the right course of treatment. Balancing between risks and possible success is exactly what you must focus on.

While some doctors may convince you to think that using drugs is necessary, many patients can improve greatly by simply being guided by relatives and friends. Using behavioral correction is a correct choice to adjust the quality of life of patients with ADHD. Nonetheless, some cases will not be treated appropriately without drugs. This means that using various tips and tricks to minimize the threat of adverse effects is imperative for any responsible parent. Fortunately, these tips are quite simple and reasonable.

  • Start the course with a small dosage and slowly increase it if necessary.
  • Consider frequent visits to your doctor in order to monitor the condition of the child during initial weeks of treatment.
  • In case of noticing adverse effects, try switching to a similar yet different drug.
  • Counteract possible weight loss and loss of appetite by slightly increasing daily ration of your child by adding snacks and healthy fats.