What are the common adverse effects of stimulants used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)?

Updated: Oct 01, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

Care should be taken to not dose too close to bedtime because stimulants may cause significant insomnia.

Other common adverse effects include appetite suppression and weight loss, headaches, and mood effects (depression, irritability).

Stimulants may exacerbate tics in children with underlying tic disorders.

Whether growth might be affected while a child is taking stimulants remains unclear. Drug holidays (during summer or on weekends) may or may not be recommended to allow periods of normal growth. The decision is based on the child's growth rate chart and behavior and cognition off medication.


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