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Ritalin For ADHD - The Important Facts

Susan Eva Photo By Susan Eva on August 16, 2011

Ever wonder how medicines for ADHD might affect your child? Read on and get the scoop on what's currently being prescribed as well as the side effects involved.

Studies show that children with ADHD lack sufficient neurotransmitters in the brain. This deficiency is responsible for the characteristic inattention and lack of focus in ADHD patients. These neuro-chemicals include dopamine, serotonin, norephinephrine, opioids and gama amino butyric acid, or BAGA for short. The ADHD med serves to replace the deficient chemicals.

As to the medicines for ADHD, stimulants are usually administered first, and if found to be ineffective or not well tolerated, antidepressants are prescribed. Stimulants are further classified as short, intermediate and long acting medications.

Long acting stimulants are taken once a day, and generally last 8-12 hours. This is useful for children in school as they don't have to remember to take their pill during the day. There are several long acting stimulants commonly used today, as described below.

Vyvanse is the latest ADHD med to be approved. It is similar to Adderall in that its main ingredient, lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, is a derivative of one of the ingredients in Adderall. Vyvanse, which produces a calming effect, is taken once a day in the morning. It is currently available in 30mg, 50mg, and 70mg capsules.

Adderall XR, a sustained release form of Aderall, is approved for use in children over the age of 6 years. Available in 10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 25mg, and 30mg capsules, the capsule can be opened and sprinkled onto food or in a drink if the child has difficulty swallowing pills. Regular Adderall is usually prescribed for children from 3 to 5 years of age.

Concerta, a central nervous system stimulant, is approved for children over the age of 6 years. It is a sustained release form of Ritalin. Concerta is formulated to work for 12 hours, and is available in 18mg, 27mg, 36mg and 54mg tablets. Teens requiring a 72mg dose can take 2 36mg tablets.

Daytrana, also known as the Ritalin patch, is available in 10mg, 15mg, 20mg, and 30mg dosages. The patches are worn for approximately 9 hours at a time on the child's hip. The medication continues to work a few more hours after the patch is removed.

Focalin XR is a long acting form of Focalin, with the active ingredient dexmethylphenidate hydrocholoride, which is also found in Ritalin. It is available in 5mg, 10mg, 15mg, and 20mg capsules, which can be opened and sprinkled on food if necessary for ingestion.

Ritalin LA is a new, sustained release form of Ritalin. It is prescribed to increase attention, decrease impulsiveness, and decrease hyperactivity. This medication is a mild stimulant that affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the nervous system. Ritalin LA is available in 10, 20, 30, and 40mg capsules. Some brands allow the capsule to be opened and sprinkled onto food. Ask your pharmacist if the brand you're taking fits in this category.

The short and intermediate acting stimulants are older medications. These include Ritalin and Ritalin SR, Methylin, Metadate ER, Methylin ER, Focalin, Dexedrine, Dextrostat and Aderall.

Strattera is the main non-stimulant medicine approved for use in treating children with ADHD. Although not as commonly prescribed as stimulants, Strattera does have a place for those who can't tolerate stimulants. Strattera is helpful for children with ADHD and anxiety.

Medicines for ADHD, as well as all prescription drugs, have side effects that must be considered when deciding on an ADHD med. Each medication will list its own specific side effects, but in general, side effects from stimulants include decreased appetite, headaches, stomachaches, trouble falling asleep, jitteriness, and social withdrawal. Some of the known side effects associated with Strattera include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, constipation, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, or mood changes.

Make no mistake about it, when you read the list of potential side effects associated with medicines for ADHD or any other condition, it's no wonder that homeopathic remedies have become extremely popular. In treating ADHD, natural remedies make up for the chemical shortages naturally, whereas drugs typically use man made ingredients not naturally found in the body. Homeopathic remedies manufactured in an FDA approved facility, under the guidance of a qualified professional, are a safe and highly effective alternative to drug therapy.

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Original article published on SooperArticles.com

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