A number of ADHD medications are hitting the market, joining the old Ritalin
standby. Adderall and Concerta, in their relatively short existence, have
already grabbed a sizeable portion of the ADHD medication market share.
Strattera joined these ADHD medications in January.
Concerta is a once-daily treatment for ADHD and, when
introduced, was the first time-release formula. A modified
version of Adderall and Ritalin followed with a time-released delivery system.
The Concerta capsule has an outer coat of medication that dissolves quickly
and then two small compartments of medication inside that release medication
The time-released system of the Concerta medication provides up to 12-hour
coverage and provides more even coverage for ADHD and ADD symptoms but parents
do find a few drawbacks with the capsule form.
- If the child does not take the Concerta medication in the morning,
manufacturers recommend that they skip the dose for that day since the
stimulants will affect the child past normal bedtime hours.
- Some parents find that, even with early morning dosing,
Concerta significantly disrupts normal sleep patterns.
- Because of the tablet's non-deformable shell, parents cannot cut the
Concerta pill to decrease the dosage. This aspect is an issue for parents still
working to find the best dosage levels or for those who wish to give their child
a lower dose for half-days at school. Increasing or decreasing by any amount
requires a new prescription.
- Parents cannot crush the tablet and mix with food for children who have
difficulty swallowing pills since crushing the Concerta medication will also
destroy the release mechanism.
- The Concerta shell does not completely digested and remnants of the
Concerta tablet can often be seen in stools. Although children's digestive
systems can typically pass a wide variety of very interesting articles and does
not typically pose a serious health hazard, the Concerta medication is not
recommended for children with gastrointestinal narrowing and digestive problems.
Concerta Side Effects:
Concerta side effects seem less pronounced than Ritalin and Dexedrine side
effects. Although Concerta side effects are less pronounced than the older
medications’ side effects, the Concerta medication still pose negative side
effects, as do other ADHD and ADD medications.
Concerta Side Effects include:
- Abdominal pain.
- Aggravation, nervousness, hostility, sadness.
- Drug dependence.
Tourette's Syndrome symptoms
- Insomnia and prolonged sleepiness.
- Loss of appetite.
- Increased coughing, sinusitis, upper respiratory tract infection.
- Allergic reaction. Increased blood pressure.
- Psychosis (abnormal thinking or hallucinations).
mg should not be used by people with marked anxiety or agitation,
glaucoma, or tics or during treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
The stimulant methylphenidate, also used in Ritalin, is the active ingredient
in the Concerta medication for ADHD and ADD. The medical community has not yet
determined the long-term effects of having methylphenidate in the bloodstream
for prolonged hours every day for numbers of years.
In stating the potential for abuse and dependence on this drug, the Concerta
manufacturer also instructs people to inform their doctor if their child has
ever used or been dependent on alcohol or drugs, or if the child is now using or
dependent on alcohol or drugs.
Concerta, along with all other ADHD medications currently on the market, is
not recommended for children under the age of six since its safety and
effectiveness has not been determined. Despite ADHD drug manufacturer's own
labels warning against prescribing these powerful drugs to young children,
doctors increasingly prescribe ADD medications to children under the
manufacturer recommended age.
A Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article in 2000 noted a
"disturbing" increase in the amount of stimulants and anti-depressants
prescribed for children under the age of five.
Parents should carefully consider the health effects of placing small
children on medications for ADD and ADHD, even if the child's health care
provider prescribes an medication for ADHD or ADD. There are
therapy options that are safe and effective.
The Concerta medication is about 70 percent effective in decreasing the
symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, which is about the same level of
effectiveness to Ritalin, Adderall and Strattera.
Although the prevailing ADHD medications have about the same level of
effectiveness on the general population, children and adults react differently
to the different formulations. Ritalin might produce severe side effects while
Concerta side effects might be minimal. Adderall side effects could present
themselves differently than Strattera side effects.
People using ADHD medications know that these little pills are never the
"cure-all" answer. Attention Deficit requires a
multifaceted approach which requires many different tactics and combination of
tactics. What works is highly individual, depending on individual needs.
Many people with ADHD find great
success from diet supplementation, a shift in parenting tactics, modifying the home and
environment, biofeedback, stress relief measures
and exercise. Trying a combination of
often nets the best results.