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5 Common Side Effects of ADHD Medications

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 6 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Adults also suffer from the condition. Most people who have been diagnosed with the condition are treated with the use of stimulants, though non-stimulant drugs have also proven to be useful in treating ADHD.

If you or a loved one is taking ADHD medications, it helps to be as informed as possible. Before heading to the pharmacy to use your free Vyvanse coupons, here are 5 common side effects you’ll want to be aware of.

  1. Changes in Appetite

ADHD medications, especially the extended release kinds, can cause all sorts of changes in appetite. Since most people take these medications in the morning, the drug effects peak around four hours later. Because of this, most people have no appetite, especially around lunchtime.

While it’s hard to want to eat when you don’t have an appetite, encourage yourself or your loved one to stick to a meal routine. This could include eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as snacks throughout the day. If you take your medication in the morning, it’s important to eat a hearty dinner. This way if you don’t eat lunch, you’ll have enough nourishment to last you until the evening when your appetite is back for dinner.

If you’re unhappy dealing with the changes in appetite, talk to your doctor about switching to immediate-release tablets. These tend to wear off by late morning or early afternoon.

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  1. Headaches

Headaches are quite common if you’ve just recently started taking ADHD medication. Some people also experience nausea along with headaches. The good news is that these side effects often go away with the help of food and time. Give your body a few weeks to adjust to the medication. If headaches persist, discuss your medication schedule or dosage with your doctor.

  1. Sleep Issues

Sleep problems are a common side effect of ADHD medication. This is often because some medications are still active around bedtime. Sleep issues are most common with short-acting formulas which require various dosages throughout the day. The fact is that even short-acting medications can least for up to 14 hours. The good news is that sleep issues tend to lessen over time. Give yourself or your loved one a solid six weeks to fully adjust to the ADHD medication.

For some kids, overstimulation near bedtime can keep them awake. ADHD can also wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. To minimize sleep issues, try taking natural sleep remedies such as melatonin.

  1. Irritability

This side effect is most common in children, but can also impact adults. After the stimulants have worn down in the body, you may experience aggressiveness and irritability. This is because the medication is leaving the brain too quickly which in turn causes mood swings. The issue, known as rebound, can be caused by too high of a dosage or because of improper medication timing.

Of course, before pinpointing your ADHD medication as the cause, ensure there are no other issues going on in your life that could also be contributing to stress or overall unhappiness.

  1. Weight Loss

Because ADHD medication impacts the appetite, it can cause unintended weight loss as well. While losing a few pounds may not be a huge deal, it’s important to keep tabs on you or your loved ones weight. A lack of appetite that causes you not to eat can be detrimental to your health, due to include a lack of vitamins and nutrients. Despite the side effects of the medication, do what you can to keep yourself on a set eating schedule. This way you can prevent losing too much weight.

Minimizing Side Effects

While all medications have side effects, there are ways to minimize them to allow you or your loved one to live a relatively normal life. One of the biggest factors that must be considered is the dosage. Stimulant medications work by increasing norepinephrine and dopamine levels in the brain.

With the right chemical levels, you’ll feel focused and ready to tackle any task that may come your way. On the other hand, if the dosage is too high, it could cause headache, nausea, heart palpitations, and other issues. Too low of a dosage can cause sleepiness, changes in mood, and a loss of appetite.

Getting the right dosage sometimes takes trial and error. Remember, it takes weeks for chemical levels in your brain to adjust and stabilize. If you experience prolonged side effects, be sure to discuss with your doctor. Some patients have to switch from methylphenidate-based medications to dextroamphetamine-based medications or vice versa.


Knowing the common side effects of ADHD medications will help you to find the best option for you. If sleeping issues, headaches, or other side effects persist for weeks, be sure to discuss this with your doctor, so that your dosage or schedule can be adjusted to minimize these side effects.