ADHD Parents Together

Medication

My son is 9 years old and was just diagnosed with ADD and they want him to take a 5mg tablet every morning, everyday to help his focus. What are the pros and cons if I give him medication? He is falling behind in school and struggle with how to begin hos assignments and it takes him hours to do homework. The only concern I have is his academics. I need advice.

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It really depends on the medication. What works for one child may not work for another. Trying it out for a month shouldn't do any harm.

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He was prescribed focalin and I am terrified of the side effects.

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I'm not familiar with Focalin. What side effects does it have?

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Decreased appetite, headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, rapid heart beat, and it wears off after 8 hours.

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My son is 6 and he has been taking focalin xr for about 3 months. It has helped him a great deal with being able to focus in school. It has also helped some with his impulsive behaviors. It does wear off mid afternoon so we are going to ask his doc this week about him taking another dose while at school. He has had some decreased appetite but my son is not a picky eater so I can make sure he gets healthy snacks and meals when he does have an appetite. We have not noticed any other side effects. I was worried about the sleep affects but we have not noticed any. Again, like somebody else said, your kiddo may not tolerate it or it may not work and you may have to keep switching meds until you find one that works and doesn’t cause the unwanted side effects. Good luck momma!

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Hi..wanna know how's ur kid doing on meds for ADD.my now is suffering from same condition n I'm scared of sideeffects plus i have heard these lose effectiveness after some months .what is ur experience.

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Hello! All five of my kids have ADD/ADHD and take Vyvanse. I was hesitant to do the medication at first but not that we are using it the kids are thriving, not just barely surviving. They are excelling in school because they can focus and they are easier to take places because they are calmer. My kids take theirs everyday because they don’t like the difference when they don’t, although a lot of kids take a break from theirs on weekends and holidays where there is no need to focus. I would give the medication a try, see how he responds to it. It will be worth it, I promise! My kids self esteem was being negatively affected without the medication because they felt different, they wanted to focus and be calm but couldn’t. Medication have been the best thing we could have done for them. Good luck!

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The medication is focalin and I am scared of the side effects. Should I take one first to see how it would make me feel and then give it to him?

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No! Everyone is different so how affects you may not affect him the same. Each of my kids responded differently to the same medication. Some needed a higher dose, some had side affects that took longer to go away than others. I was worried about the side affects too but honestly you won’t know how your child will be affected until he tries it out. My kids side affects have been very minimal. It unfortunately is a process to try and get the right medication that works best, be patient and be on top of the medication and side affects. Try not to worry, it will be fine just give it time.

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So my plan is to start the medication next Saturday so I can monitor him while he is home. And then do it again Sunday if Saturday goes well. What type of behavior is good or bad behavior?

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Good idea! Watch for signs of severe mood swings, irritability, or depression. He may have trouble with sleeping at first, that can be normal and should go away, it did for mine. If he becomes violent or his personality is very altered let the Dr. know right away.

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ADHDers have different brain chemistry than Neuro-typical brains. A normal brain is going to react to the drug differently. ADHDers can take stimulants with little to no risk. Most stimulants cause normal brains to have an euphoria effect and can be addictive to them. ADHDers don't experience any of those effects, we can take (and may need) higher doses and when taking them our dopamine normalizes allowing us to concentrate more like a neuro-typical brain does. If you did take the medication and then found you can focus better and didn't experience the euphoria, then you should get screened for ADHD. Especially since ADHD is genetic.

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ADDMom- did any of your kids have issues with anger/ rage before going on meds, if you don’t mind me asking? And if so- how did the medication positively/ negatively effect their behaviors? Thanks for your help. I’m at the point where I feel there is no other option but to medicate our ADHD 5yo son, but he has anger / and rage, and I am so fearful about the stimulants aggravating him.

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What time should I give it to him in the morning. I put him on the bus at 7:00 am eastern?

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I give my son his medication at 630, he gets on the bus at 645. It works out fine.

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So in my mind next Saturday I was thinking of giving it to him I guess at 6 am? She said it lasts exactly 8 hours.

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When my son started on Adderall, I also started it on a weekend so I could monitor him. His medication only lasts 6 hours but I was able to see how he does. The first day on medication was a change that I wanted to witness. If it lasts 8 hours, then maybe Saturday try 8 then Sunday, if it does last 8 hours, then wake him early as if it was a school day to see how he does. Just a suggestion.

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Wow! 5 tablets!! I think you should talk to his teacher tell him or her your concerns due to him having ADHD. If that doesn't work talk to the school principal or counselor. You child has a right to have a 504 plan. If you have this plan set in place they have to give him extra intervention time, correct seating in the classroom and extra time on all test . With a 504 plan your child can have the right to have extra time on test or yes can be taken without any noise. I think you should check into this cause the 504 plan follows him all the way to college if he gets it. I really hope this helps. This way there is no excuse for them to ignore your child..

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Great idea! I am horrible at typing I meant to say one 5 mg tablet per day. Sorry if I said that wrong. What does the 504 plan do for end of grade testing?

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We are working on getting my son an IEP which is legally binding and the school has to adhere to the accommodations listed in the IEP.

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With the 504 plan your child has the right to have correct seating meaning he must sit where he is Not distracted. That can be like a seat near the teacher or away from everyone during test. They can also be given more time. Your child has the right to have extra intervention time with the teacher. Most children with ADHD sometimes like to rush through their work, their teacher should double check to make sure they understand. Plus your child has a right to have acomadations during lessons. You need to make sure you talk to the teacher so that she knows you care and you don't want her to think your child his having trouble focusing on purpose. I also think placing your child in sports or activities after school and summer is a good thing too. Like for example like after school your child can take a swimming class or piano lessons or even a tutor after school. Cause if your child anything like mine they have to get all that energy out and when they come home it will be time to get in the tub and read then head to bed...lol. Activities after school also help social skills with other kids and relieves a lot of stress on you and your child.. My son has a plan and his teacher works with me and when I have concerns I let her know. It will be a bit ruff now cause you are working to get him on cause you can start a plan as early as kindergarten and your child could have been receiving these accommodations each year. I hope 🤞🏽 this helps.

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You may wanna talk to his doctor about this so they can write a letter to the school also. That's what I did two years ago. This way your child's doctor can help you as welll.

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Hey, My 10 year old son has been taking Concerta since he was 7 and the difference when he takes it is night and day BAfter a week he told his teacher "I can hear everything you say to me now " it is so much easier for him to focus in class and complete his work

We were lucky that the first medicine we tried worked. If Focalin is not right for your son, don't give up, try another. It will leave his system in about 8 hours, I can tell when it wears off.

The only side effect he had is reduced appetite-- he never wants to eat.

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So is it a loss of appetite completely or he eats less? And what did dr say to help him eat better?

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Only you can decide what is best for your son, but it sounds like you’ve already identified ways his lack of focus is negatively impacting him. It’s a hard decision. My 6 year old is on Focalin XR. I give it to him at around 7:15 am and he starts school at 7:45 am. Remember the length of time the medication lasts also depends on their metabolism. My sons ability to focus during first quarter was horrible on another medication. Second quarter on the Focalin he did so much better. He improved enough academically to exit from Title I reading. Remember you are making a daily choice. More than likely he will lose appetite during the day. Feed him a good breakfast and be prepared with food in the late afternoon. Snacks! Good luck and keep trying!!!

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If you are concerned, try a 1/2 tablet in the morning with or after breakfast (this lessens the chance of upset stomach or headache) for a few days, then a whole pill for a few days. See what happens (perhaps the lower dose will work).

By the way, appetite and sleep effects, if they occur, are usually temporary in duration.

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I can’t do a half a tablet it’s a capsule

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Focalin is a capsule usually and you cannot divide it up. My 13 year old grandson was on it from kindergarten all the way up through 6th grade when it suddenly stopped working. He was on the honor roll through most of grade school. It affected his appetite somewhat and he wouldn't eat lunch sometimes. But he ate a huge breakfast and big dinner and his pediatrician said he didn't lose any weight and it all balanced out in the long run.

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Medication is to ADD/ADHD like glasses are for near/far sighted people. Without medication, someone with ADHD can't regulate dopamine properly and thus can't focus or concentrate when needed. Read and watch current material from Dr. Russell Barkley. He is one of the top experts on ADD/ADHD and knows what he is talking about.

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My 9 year old son was also finally diagnosed just before Christmas with ADHD after 6 years of struggle. He has been taking Focalin XR now for three months. It has been an amazing transformation at school. His academics had been sliding for a year and we had major concerns about this. With the medication he is able to focus and learn at school now. He describes it as "my brain isn't racing with all these thoughts anymore!" He can concentrate on one thing at a time and not get distracted. It has also made a huge difference with his behavior. We were struggling at home with impulsive, defiant, and sometimes aggressive/violent behavior. This has almost completely subsided. He seems better able to think things through rather than reacting. So it has been overwhelmingly a good thing. That said, we did at first have trouble with interrupted sleep, decreased appetite and a "crash" in the afternoon right when he was getting home from school and unable to do his homework. Our doctor advised a second, booster dose at about that time when his XR was wearing off and that has taken care of the crash, the homework and the sleeping. We've had about two weeks of bliss now. However, we continue to work on the appetite problem. He has lost about 6 lbs since we started the meds three months ago. I am hopeful that we can find ways to get the nutrition he needs in him, but it's taking some trial an error. I would take any advice or experience anyone has to offer to that end! Good luck with your decision. It really can't hurt to try it for a little while and see how things go. The good thing about the ADD meds these days is that they are out of your system within 8 hours, so if you find the side effect outweigh the benefits for you, you can always decide to stop with no trouble!

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Does the focalin xr have a crash? And what is that like when it wears off?

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Because the XR is extended release, he gets "bursts" of the medication throughout the 8 hours. Sometimes there can be a little lag in between "bursts" where he feels like the med has worn off, but it usually passes quickly in a few minutes and he has been able to manage that at school. When the whole thing wears off, he has about 30-60 minutes of "crash" where he feels tired and a little out of it, but then he rebounds. We have begun a second 4 hour dose when he gets home from school which corresponds with the end of the 8 hour dose and that gets him through his homework and to his activities without the crash. Now he experiences the crash around bedtime, which frankly is perfect. Makes the bedtime transition a little easier, and it has helped him sleep solidly through the night.

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What med do you use for 4 hours of boost?

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It’s the regular Focalin. We give him 1/2 of a 5mg tablet.

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This is a capsule sigh... but this is good to know just in case this isn’t effective

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The Focalin XR is a 5mg capsule that he takes for the 8 hours in the morning. Our dr. gave us a second prescription for a regular Focalin 5mg tablet that we split in half for the 4 hours in the afternoon. You could ask your doc about getting a second script for the tablets if you want to try it.

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My son finally started the focalin XR 5 mg tablet today at like 10 am and he couldn’t swallow the pill so I had to open up the capsule and pour the contents within the capsule into a small cup, mix it with water, and he drunk that. So now I am just watching him. I am sure if I told the dr they would say, what were you thinking, but I am not going to tell them for now. Thoughts?

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I'm not sure how that will effect the way and speed it dissolves into his system. It may be fine, but I'm no doctor. I'm pretty sure that they gave us the option of a liquid form that might be better for you if he's having trouble swallowing a pill. I would definitely check with you doctor.

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I will ask my physician thanks for tip!

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Well we are on the day 2 of the focalin xr I got scared yesterday because he said his head felt weird. But that was on Sunday, but then today was his first school day and he did great and I can tell a difference already. He came home sat down and did his homework and didn’t get up not once. And he seemed more focused. I panicked for nothing. I looked at his IEP and he has the preferred seating, small group testing, verbal reading to him while testing, he has special education for math, and reading intervention, what else can I suggest?

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Yay!!! That’s great!! That all sounds just right at school. You can also ask for extra time for tests if needed, or a quiet environment for testing. Also, in terms of behavior, you can ask for a reward system. In terms of communication with school, especially teachers, you can ask for a daily touch base. There is a written form for that, or we just email each other feedback for the day. Also, if appetite becomes a problem, you can send protein bars and protein drinks to school and your teacher and/or nurse can make sure he has opportunities to eat when he feels like it. I’m so happy for you! I hope things continue to work for you!!

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I am going to milk it for all it’s worth!

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