Basic Tips for Coping With ADHD Drug Side Effects

Common medications prescribed for children with ADHD include:

       Stimulants- Methylphenidate-examples include Concerta, Daytrana, Focalin, Metadate ER, Methylin ER, Ritalin, Quillivant XR)

·      Amphetamines (Adderall, Dexedrine, Dextrostat, Vyvanse)

·      Nonstimulant drugs- Atomoxetine/Strattera, Guanfacine, Clonidine,    


·      Decreased appetite: A few hours after the drug is taken, a participant may have a decreased appetite and may still have a low appetite at lunchtime.

·      Increased appetite: In the evening, the drug is beginning to wear off so appetite tends to increase greatly.

-Have snacks readily available. Ask parents if they have certain snacks or foods they want to provide during tournaments and/or practice.


Stomach pain or upset

Can be cause if participant receives medicine on an empty stomach.   Food should be provided if participant receives medication during hockey times.

Sleep problems

·      Daytime drowsiness:  from receiving the drug in the morning, new increase of dose of medicine, medication side effect. 

Communicate with families if you notice an increase of sleepiness and tiredness.

Mood changes

·      Irritability can start when the drug starts to wear off in the evening if given once a day and late afternoon if drugs are given twice a day and/or with hunger.   

·    Hyperactivity- an increase in hyperactivity (talking fast, jittery) when drug dose is wearing off and/or due for 2nd dose.

Keep an eye out for changes in participant’s moods. If there are major changes, such as lessened emotional expression or suicidal thinking, alert participant’s family immediately.

Tics-which can include excessive blinking, grimacing, or jerking of the head.

·      If you notice a new onset of these symptoms then let the family know immediately.

Cindy Fleet, RN      Phone (240) 899-1533