My 7-year-old son was recently diagnosed with ADHD. We started him on Focalin last week and it completely changed his personality. Made him withdrawn, irritable and slightly depressed. Other people noticed the change in him. This is obviously not what we wanted. We want to help him get his impulsive behavior under control and help him pay attention in school. We stopped the medication immediately. His doctor recommended taking a week off and then starting him on 10 mg. of Vyvanse next week. Anyone have any experience with this drug? Any insight would be great. This condition is so much more complicated than I realized.


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9 Replies

  • Hi, I can't really give much insight as our daughter just started 20mg of vyvanse on Friday. She has adhd inattentive type. Has trouble staying focused in school easily distracted. While on it She's been very quiet, focused but at times irritable more towards her sister and also serious not too smiley. 1st day she was very emotional crying over nothing all morning. Side effects she is experiencing is not being hungry but as soon as it wears off she is starving. 1st day tho she ate so much all day. Her teacher yesterday had told me she was very quiet, and focused all day,if I hadn't let her know we had tried medication she would have thought something was bothering her. I asked the pedi about her not being her happy smiley self and he told me it should wear off in about a week but if still an issue he will try to lower the dose and see. I'm hoping to get some insight from this post as it will also help me.

  • I will post on our progress with this drug. It was very disturbing to me to see the change in his personality. Like I said, we don't want him to be someone he is not. We just want to try to help him live up to his potential since he is very intelligent. It's heart breaking to see him struggling so much.

  • His personality will likely be affected some while he is on any medication (but not so negatively like you experienced). It is still sad for me to see my son more subdued than his usual personality when his medication is active. It is seriously a trade-off to get used to. But, overall my son is a very happy kid. From age 5 to 6 was a nightmare, and his self-esteem is still recovering. We didn't have the diagnosis then, and he decided for himself he must just be a bad boy. That was heartbreaking. I'm sorry you have to be on this journey. Thankfully ADHD is more understood than ever, but it still sucks.

  • Hi! We went down the exact same path with my son. We started with Focalin which is a methylphenidate stimulant and when that one didn't really work for us (I didn't like the zombie-like reaction and it wore off too quickly), we switched to Vyvanse (which is an amphetamine stimulant). It has been amazing! I think switching from one class of medication to another is a common practice when one doesn't work out well. I hope it works for your son! We started at 6 1/2 with Vyvanse and was on the same dosage until this year (age 9). If you aren't working with a psychiatrist, I highly recommend it. If you run into any issues or ongoing concerns, you will want a mental health pro in place.

    You hit the nail on the head. ADHD is far and away more complicated than people realize. I suggest learning all you can because things can work well for a while and then BAM. My son started third grade and holy cow. He was angry, frustrated, rude, and more emotional. It took work to make a number of changes. As they grow, things will keep changing!

  • My son is 7 and has been taking Focalin and Focalin XR for about 4months. I never noticed any changes really and am anxiously awaiting his appt with his psychiatrist tomorrow to change his meds to something that will hopefully settle the impulses. Now when he took Tenex, I saw major emotions out of him! The crying for no reason, irritability, etc...this disease has not only been debilitating to my son but to me as well...

  • Ask for a genetics test - it is a mouth swab test that gives you guidance about the medications that would be best based on how your son metabolizes medication. My daughter was a zombie on the 1st medication we tried and when we switched based on her genetics test we have had a much better experience. The test was covered by insurance. Good luck!

  • Another thing that was difficult to hear is that when I asked my son how he felt on the Focalin, he said he felt sad. But he also said he thought he did better in school. Today was the first day back to school on no medication, and he said that school was harder for him. Thanks for the info about Focalin and Vyvanse being two different types of stimulants. I didn't realize that before. Maybe a different type of medication will work better for him.

  • My 6 year old son started on Vyvanse about a week and a half ago. We started on 10 mg and that didn’t seem to help much so he is now up to 20 milligrams. we have seen the side affect of a change in his appetite and a little bit of anger and aggression a few days but haven’t seen that in the last couple of days. His last two days of school have been absolutely amazing so I know it’s helping. We did do the gene test for him but unfortunately he will not be able to have a medication where he will not have any side effects to the medication. I will keep you updated as the we watch him over the next few weeks.

  • Vyvanse caused headaches and nausea for my son. So we switched to Focalin and it works for him. Just have to test the meds out to see what works..

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