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Dealing with adderall side effects?

mkm56mkm56 Posts: 3,062Registered User Senior Member
My son recently returned to school for soph. year. He is on Adderall and is already complaining of the side effects (tried several other drugs last year with worse side effects). The sleep problems have returned even though he doesn't take after about 4pm (adderall is the short acting). Appetite is severely decreased (last year he lost 35lbs in one semester). "Rebound" crash time is bugging him. Also feels that it affects his ability to work out.

He is so frustrated he wants to stop med, but feels that he won't be able to effectively read or listen to lectures without it. He stopped the med during summer and felt great, was able to work out alot, put weight back on, etc.

Anyone else deal with these issues and have any suggestions? I have just told him to monitor what he eats and eat quantity he needs whether he "wants" it or not. (of course that is advice from someone who can't imagine not wanting to eat) I haven't read anything about these meds affecting physical training. As far as the sleep....? I don't know, last year Dr. put him on sleep meds and that opened another can of worms.
Post edited by mkm56 on
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Replies to: Dealing with adderall side effects?

  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 31,159Registered User Senior Member
    I take one adderal xr early- it seems to take a couple hours to work. this lets me have a coffee without getting too hyped up
    I also only take it 4 or 5 times a week- only if I need it.
    for sleep- I actually exercise after dinner I find instead of getting me worked up it relaxes me.
    occasionally I may take melatonin- for sleep
  • mkm56mkm56 Posts: 3,062Registered User Senior Member
    He's never tried melatonin--maybe that is something to look in to. Thanks.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 31,159Registered User Senior Member
    has he tried strattera?
    it is something you have to take everyday- and I havent taken it- but both my kids are on it
  • mkm56mkm56 Posts: 3,062Registered User Senior Member
    No, he hasn't. Has tried both short and XR Adderall, short and LA ritalin and I believe Concerta (sp?). Do your kids have less side effects with Strattera? He sees Dr. in a couple weeks and could ask about it.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 31,159Registered User Senior Member
    strattera is an norepinerphine reuptake inhibitor
    so it is not a stimulant at all
    There have been some problems with liver toxicity- but my kids haven't had problems- although I do think that my 16 yr old has been having dairy allergies, I didn't realize that it could be connected
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomoxetine
  • mom60mom60 Posts: 5,398Registered User Senior Member
    mkm56- Is your son a soph in college or high school?
    My senior son has struggled with finding the right medication for him. He took Strattera for a longtime. It was the first drug we tried, the nice thing about it was that it is not a stimulant and is a refillable prescription and doesn't require a trip to pick up the prescription every month. It is supposed to have less side effects. It also doesn't work immediately so you have to take it for awhile to see if it is going to work for you. We saw results academically but he hated the way it made him feel. It totally took away his appetite and he had really bad stomachaches. Finally he decided that he wouldn't take it anymore.
    We then tried Concerta. That worked well but it would wear off before the end of the school day so we raised the dose but it caused him intense anxiety. He also lost about 10 lbs. Our Dr suggested a psychiatrist to help him find the right medication. So for the last 5 months he has tried several different drugs. Adderral XR in different dosages. He then tried Dexedrine which some people feel has less of a rebound feeling then the others. My son didn't feel it helped him much. He also has tried regular ritalin (not long acting) He actually felt pretty decent on the ritalin but he had to take alot and it wears off quickly. Getting him to try the meds was difficult. He loves spending most of the summer off the medication. Like your son he gained some weight.
    As of last week with school starting again my son decided to go back to the adderall XR in the morning. He finishes school at 1:30 and it seems to be working till then. If he doesn't have anything that evening or much homework that is it for the day. He can eat dinner and a late night snack. He also forces himself to eat cereal in the morning even though he isn't hungry when he first gets up. He also has a prescription for 5mg of ritalin that he can use in the afternoon or evening if he has a night class or lots of homework. He hasn't worked out how many of them he will take. The ritalin is suppose to go through your body faster so he should be able to sleep. He hasn't actually tried it yet. He has used the ritalin on weekends when he has homework but has slept late. He doesn't like to take the adderall xr after 11 am.
    He has always had a hard time falling asleep. What has finally helped him is meditation.
    It is frustration trying to find what works.
  • merlinjonesmerlinjones Posts: 807- Member
    It is amazing that someone with ADD or ADHD can meditate mom60, that is a nice thing to hear.
  • mkm56mkm56 Posts: 3,062Registered User Senior Member
    mom60, he is a soph. in college. Wasn't diagnosed until his fresh. year at college, which on top of some other things really made for a stressful year with all the medication changes and side effects. What he hates the most is the nervous, jazzy feeling, the insomnia (which he always had somewhat), and the loss of appetite. I told him to talk to Dr. at his appt. on the 7th to see about the Strattera or some other possibility. He did start meditation last year and it helps some, but I think he gets frustrated with having to do it (real type A type guy)--wants everything to work out immediately and thinks because he wants it, it should happen.

    You know hindsight is always 20/20, but I wish I had had him restart meds a couple weeks before school started so that maybe he would have been more acclimated. He's trying to go without and due to that and also getting horrible strep infection, he's fallen behind and may have to drop a class.

    Thanks for info everyone.
  • mom60mom60 Posts: 5,398Registered User Senior Member
    mkm56- I hate to suggest adding more medication but my son started taking Prozac to help with the anxiety that the ADD meds made worse. He has always been overly sensitive but he found that the medication made him overanalyze everything and it really bothered him. The Prozac has made a huge difference.
    If he is the type to want it immediately he won't like Strattera. Like antidepressants you need to take it for quite sometime before you can tell if it is working. So you can waste weeks and have it not work. It probably would be something to try over a break. The other thing about Strattera is that it stays in your system much longer. So you don't have that feeling of coming off the medication each night. Also since it must build up in your system to begin working they don't recommend not taking it over breaks.

    I know all about hindsight. We fought against medication for years. School was always a struggle. Finally we were convinced to give it a try. His performance since starting medication is night and day.
    I hope his strep infection is under control.
    How does your son get his medication each month away at school? Does a Dr on-campus right the prescription?
  • mom60mom60 Posts: 5,398Registered User Senior Member
    Merlinjones I was shocked when I heard he meditated. He hadn't told us he was doing it. He told a relative who passed it on to us. I don't know if he learned on his summer outdoor ed program or from his psychiatrist who also had ADD.
  • mkm56mkm56 Posts: 3,062Registered User Senior Member
    Yes, he has a Dr. on campus that prescribes and monitors him. I have never met the Dr., but have talked to him on phone when son was first diagnosed--this guy was the one who suggested the testing originally and we had him tested at home on fall break last year. Actually he did try him on Prozac and another antidepressant and both added more side effect problems. But you are so right--the obsession and anxiety is certainly an issue. With all the sleep problems he was having, the Dr. prescribed Ambien for him--that was scary. His roommate would find him wandering the dorm, visiting with people or sometimes cleaning the room in the middle of the night---the next day he had no recollection of any of it. I insisted that he stop that med.

    I know he hates being medicated for any reason and thus probably attributes any negative feeling he has to medication whether it is truly an effect or not.

    He does like being able to focus though and will have to weigh the trade offs. When he first started on Adderall, he called me and said with amazement that he could read a page and go on to the next without rereading first page several times. I had no idea he had studied/read this way all the way through high school!

    I sure wish there was a magic pill for people with this problem that would allow them the benefits w/o all the side effects.
  • mom60mom60 Posts: 5,398Registered User Senior Member
    I just remembered something. When we talked with another psychiatrist before we settled on the one we are seeing he said the obsession and increased anxiety was possibly caused by to high of a dose of the Concerta.
  • Pat SaysPat Says Posts: 17Registered User New Member
    I personally think that Adderal is a sham drug. It was originally marketed as a weight loss pill and then they saw amphetamines helped curb add symptoms and tried to then market it as an ADD drug that wouldn't affect appetite as much! Adderal has 4 different types of dextroamphetamine salts and the only on that really helps with add symptoms is the dex-sulfate... which is all that dexedrine contains.. Basically I'd suggest he try dexedrine or some sort of generic form. I don't think the dex-sulfate affects appetite as drastically and it contains only the most beneficial dex salts.

    ... just a suggestion
  • mkm56mkm56 Posts: 3,062Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks Pat, I'll look into it. As of this moment he is doing a little better. He talked to Dr. who didn't want to make changes while he was trying to start a new semester. Son has started trying to eat several times a day--even if just a banana and a protein bar--in addition to regular meals. He's maintaining weight at present and cut his Adderall dose in half and takes last dose a little earlier. I'm hoping that as he figures out what works well for him as far as controling environment, study aids, etc., that he will be able to not do the medication route.
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse Posts: 22,732Registered User Senior Member
    Depending on the severity of the ADD, wellbutrin can help with minimal side effects, but it is more for ADD Lit. . For very hyper, anxious types, Cymbalta can help and it is pretty fast acting, and does not decrease the appetite . A very low dose risparin at has been known to be helpful--the drawback to that is that it is labeled as an anti psychotic, though I have seen it help kids with social, organizational, emotional and behavioural issues. All of the above work at low doses which is an advantage, and can work solo to help a particular type of issue. I do suggest experimenting over the summer when parents can observe the effects, effectiveness and side effects first hand. Sometimes kids do not report accurately.
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