ZocdocAnswersWhat are the side-effects of attention deficit medications?

Question

What are the side-effects of attention deficit medications?

I'm in my early 30s and I was just diagnosed with adult ADD. Frankly, this explains a lot, so I'm glad to get the diagnosis. On the other hand l am very uneasy about the thought of taking medication. If I do, what side effects should I expect? How do they change your life?

Answer

Before starting any medication, it is a good idea to always sit down with your doctor and discuss in detail all of the benefits and drawbacks of the treatment. The side effects the medications you will be taking for you ADD depend on the type of medication that your doctor has prescribed. Sometimes physicians start off with a stimulant medication such as methylphenidate (Ritalin). Side effects of methylphenidate include slight increase in blood pressure, an increase in heart rate, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. There many other possible side effects other than these. For most people with ADD, the benefits outweigh the burden of these side effects. Sometimes, physicians place patients on a non-stimulant medication such as atomoxetine (Straterra). The side effects of this medication include increased blood pressure, dry mouth, constipation, irritability, and many others. You will need to watch out for side effects with either of these medications and report them to your doctor right away. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with the physician that will be prescribing your ADD medications. Have him or her go through all of the possible benefits and risks associated with the medication so that you can make as informed a decision as possible. Good luck.

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