ADHD Drugs And Their Side Effects In Children

The right combination and dosage of medications can make children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) function in a better manner. These children can focus more on their tasks, socialize better with their family and friends, and fidget less, among other benefits.  

But ADHD drugs like Adderall or Vyvanse have their risks, too, in the form of side effects. This can be difficult for the kids, as well as their parents, because the side effects may seem like worse than the benefits.  

Fortunately, there are effective ways of coping with the side effects of ADHD drugs. Keep in mind that all these ways are based on your dedication to being involved with your child’s treatment plan. You should, for example, keep track of the medications and their side effects as seen on your child; a journal will be useful for this purpose.  

Poor Sleep

One of the common side effects is sleeping issues, particularly poor sleep during the night. You may have given your child his medications too close to his bedtime or their effects haven’t worn off by then; many ADHD drugs have long-acting effects.  

But don’t change your child’s medication, either by changing its dose or its time of administration, without the pediatrician’s advice. In many cases, sleep issues connected to ADHD drugs become better on their own, usually within a few weeks.

You can also help your child enjoy better sleep by:

  • Keeping things and activities that can cause overstimulation. These include watching television, surfing the Internet, and playing with his phone. Keep him off these things a few hours before bedtime.
  • Adopt a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Ensure that his bedroom is sleep-friendly, such as turning on the fan or air-conditioner and turning off the lights.  

If your child’s sleep pattern still doesn’t improve, you should consult with your child’s pediatrician as changes in his medication may be needed.

Appetite Loss

Children on ADHD medications may also experience loss of appetite, a side effect that will likely have an impact on their growth. Remember that children need a balanced diet for their normal physical and mental development, thus, the need to handle appetite effectively.  

A few things you can try in ensuring your child continues to get proper nourishment:

  • Give your child healthy, filling and delicious breakfasts and dinners. Your child may not be hungry during lunch so it’s important to compensate for it.  
  • Adopt creative ways to encourage your child to eat. You may, for example, make cartoon shapes from food like in the Japanese way of making bento boxes.  
  • Encourage your child to drink milk, if he isn’t lactose intolerant.

Your doctor may also change to a shorter-acting drug so that your child can have a better appetite.

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