ADHD Medications for Children.

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Commonly Prescribed ADHD Medications for Children

One of the first - and sometimes ardently promoted - treatments for Attention Deficit Disorder is stimulant ADHD medications. The ADHD medications for children most commonly prescribed are Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta.

ADHD medications for children like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta are found to have a short-term effectiveness of 60 to 80 percent in reducing the symptoms of ADHD in school-age children.

For these people, ADHD medications reduce their hyperactivity and improve their ability to focus, work, and learn. The ADHD medications may also improve physical coordination, such as handwriting and ability in sports.

However, there are downsides and side effects to Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta and others. Many doctors feel the side effects of should be carefully weighed against the benefits before prescribing medications like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta.

Ritalin: Ritalin was derived from Dexedrine in the 1950's, initially to minimize the side effects of appetite suppression and insomnia. Ritalin is now the most frequently prescribed stimulant drug for ADHD, and the focus of much of the controversy about stimulant drugs.

Ritalin is available in both a short and long acting form. The short acting form generally begins working about 30 minutes after it is administered, peaks at two hours and is gone at four hours. It must be taken several times daily. Ritalin sustained release tablets last about eight hours.

Ritalin affects children in the same way that related stimulants like Cocaine affects adults. It sharpens the short-term attention span when the drug kicks in and produces equally predictable valleys when Ritalin wears off.

Common Ritalin side effects are headaches, abdominal pain, nervousness, insomnia, dizziness, cardiac arrhythmia and weight loss. Long-term use has also been linked to abnormalities in brain development similar to those found with Cocaine. Safety and effectiveness has not been established in children under 6 years of age.

Adderall: Adderall was approved for unrestricted use for the treatment of ADHD by the FDA in 1996 and is quickly becoming one of the more widely prescribed ADHD medications. Though Adderall is a fairly new drug in the treatment of ADHD, Adderall was first developed about 20 years ago under the name "Obetrol" and was marketed for weight loss and diet control.

Adderall is a "cocktail" drug that combines four drugs from the amphetamine family to provide a broad spectrum of coverage. The effects of Adderall can be felt after only a few doses but often takes additional time to achieve the full effect.

Adderall last about six hours per dose, which alleviates the need for children to take doses during the school day. Doctors and parents administering this ADHD medications for children report that Adderall can be less "harsh" than Ritalin, with less peaks and valleys.

The most common side effects Adderall has are restlessness, dizziness, insomnia, headache, dryness of the mouth, and weight loss. This medications ADHD drug has a high potential for abuse and addiction, especially among people who do not have ADHD.

Concerta: Concerta is one the newest drugs to appear on the market and is the longest acting. The FDA approved the 12-hour Concerta, a reformulation of Ritalin, in 2000.

Concerta contains methylphenidate, the same medication found in Ritalin, though the medical community has not yet determined the long-term effects of having methylphenidate in the bloodstream for prolonged hours every day.

The time released Concerta tablet has an outer coat of medication that dissolves quickly and then two small compartments of medication inside that release gradually.

Concerta, like Adderall, provide longer, more even action than Ritalin.

The benefit of Concerta, and Adderall, is that children do not need to receive an extra dose during the school hours. The downside to Concerta is that, because of the drug-release system, you cannot cut the Concerta pill to decrease the dosage or chew the Concerta tablet because that will destroy the release mechanism. Adderall tablets are scored to allow decreased dosages.

Also, Concerta tablets are not completely digested and remnants of the Concerta tablet can often be seen in stools. Concerta isn't recommended for children with gastrointestinal narrowing and digestive problems. Concerta is not recommended for children under the age of six.

The most common Concerta side effects are headache, upper respiratory tract infection, stomach ache, vomiting, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, increased cough, sore throat, sinusitis, and dizziness. Other side effects are reduced stature, tics, moodiness and psychosis.

Concerta is not recommended for people with marked anxiety or agitation, glaucoma, or tics. It is also contraindicated during any treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Weighing Benefits Against Side Effects: With the correct dosage, ADHD medications for children can control their hyperactivity, inattention, and other behaviors. Yet, the medical community remains divided on the detriment/benefit issue that weighs the benefits of ADHD medications against side effects.

Most doctors feel the potential side effects should be carefully weighed against the benefits before prescribing the drugs. Children might lose weight, have problems falling asleep, have decreased appetite, and temporarily grow more slowly while taking ADHD medications. Some doctors also believe that some of these medications may also worsen the symptoms of Tourette's syndrome.

Prescriptions for these medications is an increasingly controversial area of treatment. ADHD medications- Ritalin the most prescribed, with Adderall gaining in prescription popularity - do not always work, do not treat the core cause of ADHD and could have long-term negative effects.

ADHD medications can allow people to focus and pay better attention but that does not verify that the person does indeed have Attention Deficit Disorder ADD ADHD. It simply means that the person performs better on stimulant drugs. Many people, Attention Deficit or not, experience improved performance on stimulant ADHD medications.

Parents need to be clear about the benefits, as well as the potential side effects of ADHD medications Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta. Many opt to look for a safe and effective Adderall alternative, like the Attend ADHD remedies line of natural and safe products.

The Military Personnel Procurement Manual lists the prescribed use of Ritalin as a "permanent disqualifier" for joining the military.

Studies show that stimulants cause especially severe reactions in young children. Studies remain inconclusive on the effects of ADHD medications to the development of the very young child's brain.

An Archives of General Psychiatry research report states that cocaine, one of the most addicting of the abused drugs, has pharmacological actions very similar to those of methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta).

All ADHD medications prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder ADD ADHD are closely related to illegal street drugs. These include dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, street name "dexies"), methamphetamine (street name "crystal meth") and cocaine.

Parents of children diagnosed with ADHD often feel overwhelmed and trapped in a very bad situation. The physician's first line of defense in treatment is typically powerful ADHD medications like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta.

Doctors typically consider ADHD medications such as Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta safe though they can be addictive to teenagers and adults if misused. The debate on whether stimulant ADHD medications prescribed to children lead to drug addiction later in life still bubbles.

These ADHD medications can work effectively for the majority of children but also have potentially harmful side effects. Many parents questioning whether administering ADHD medications like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta is in their child's best interest often seek
ADHD natural alternatives.

The Ritalin Boom: The medical community remains unclear about the best way to diagnose and treat the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder ADD ADHD. Some in the medical community say many children are misdiagnosed and are taking ADHD medications like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta that are not needed.

Anxiety, depression, allergies, seizures, or problems with the home or school environment can mimic Attention Deficit Disorder ADD ADHD symptoms.

Many parents and physicians express concerns about the over-prescribing of Ritalin and other ADHD medications. Other critics argue that many ADHD medications are used loosely as a way to control disruptive behaviors in children.

If anyone questions the widespread nature of Ritalin and other Attention Deficit Disorder ADD ADHD medications commonly prescribed, consider these statistics:

About six million children, roughly one in eight children, will take Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta or other ADHD medications.

Since 1991, prescriptions for ADHD medications quintupled.

In that same time period, Ritalin use for the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder ADD ADHD increased 700 percent.

Five lawsuits over the past three years charge Novartis, the makers of Ritalin, with using unethical marketing methods to increase demand.

ADHD medications prescriptions for children ages 2 to 4 increased almost 300% between 1991 and 1995.

The Quick Fix?: Research is clear that stimulant ADHD medications can be helpful, at least in the short term. Parents and teachers often rush to applaud ADHD medications when the child's schoolwork and behavior improve after starting ADHD medications.

While the ADHD medications can allow these changes to take place, the effect wears off when the ADHD medications wear off. The ADHD medications do not increase knowledge or improve academic skills, though the ADHD medications can help people pay better attention and complete their work.

The ADHD medications only control the symptoms instead of addressing the ADHD causes. ADHD medications are like glasses, braces or allergy medications. These ADHD medications don't cure the disorder. They only temporarily control the symptoms.

The Montreal Children's Hospital conducted a comprehensive study of the long-term effects of children on ADHD medications. The study concluded that, at the end of five years, hyperactive children who received ADHD medications did not differ significantly from children who had not received drug intervention.

Although the hyperactive children treated with Ritalin and other ADHD medications were initially more manageable, they fared the same in the degree of improvement and emotional adjustment at the end of five years to the control group of hyperactive children who did not receive ADHD medications.

A growing number of health professionals, parents and educators believe that Attention Deficit Disorder ADD ADHD is a disorder, but they do not agree that a long-term course of medication is the answer.

Since children do not outgrow ADHD, medications merely postpone dealing with the causes. Because of this, many health professionals believe that children displaying ADHD symptoms should not be treated solely with pharmaceutical drugs.

Addressing the Root Causes: Medical professionals who believe in the sparing use of ADHD medications advocate identifying the underlying causes of symptoms and dealing with those first before rushing into a course of ADHD medication. For lasting improvement, many doctors recommend behavioral therapy, emotional counseling and practical support in addition to a healthy diet and nutritional supplements, like Attend, to diminish the symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder and ADHD.

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