Side effects - ADHD medications

Professor Philip Shaw discusses some of the concerns parents have in medicating their children and the potential side effects involved.

I think people are right - you’ve got to be very vigilant whenever you give a child any medication, and it’s very important to look very intently at any possible side effects of ADHD. Through some very large studies, there was one called the Multimodal Treatment Association study, and also a recent study on pre-schoolers, we’ve got a good idea of what those side effects may be, and it is incredibly important to monitor children for them and if necessary to switch their medication to minimize these side effects. So the biggest problems are probably alterations in appetite, and that can translate to some slowing of height and weight gain. This tends to be quite small, and there’s also an argument that once the child stops it is their catch up growth anyway, because there is little evidence that people who take stimulants into adulthood are of a different height from those who don’t. But, it does seem to be clear that while a child is taking it, you have to keep a very close eye on their height and weight. Other rarer side effects are things such like upset tummy and having a headache, and in some kids very, very rarely if they have a tick disorder, sort of twitchy, then it can make that a little bit worse, although mostly it doesn’t.

adhd, attention, hyperactivity, deficit, disorder, medication, drug, side, effect, stimulants, philip, shaw

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