Side Effects of Commonly Prescribed Medications for ADHD

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

The most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD include stimulant medications, such as Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, and Dexedrine. The non-stimulant medication for ADHD is Strattera. All of these medications have a number of side effects in common:

· Loss of Appetite
· Headache
· Stomach upset or nausea
· Weight Loss
· Difficulty Sleep

These side effects may appear during the first few weeks. Normally these side effects will disappear or will not cause enough discomfort to contact your doctor. However, if you should have any concerns, you should call immediately.

According to the patient inserts for stimulant medications, the following side effects may also appear. All of these should be immediately discussed with your physician:

· Anxiety, nervousness and mood changes
· Chest pain, irregular or fast heartbeat
· Increased blood pressure
· Joint pain
· Skin rash
· Uncontrollable tics
· Fever

Ritalin and Concerta can also cause bruising.

The patient insert for Strattera lists the following side effects:

· Loss of appetite
· Drowsiness
· Headache
· Stomach upset or nausea
· Dry mouth
· Mild bowel problems such as diarrhea or constipation
· Problems sleeping

For these side effects, your doctor may not need to be contacted. However, if the symptoms persist for longer than a few weeks or cause discomfort enough to interfere with your daily activities, you should speak with your doctor.

Strattera lists the following symptoms as those that you should discuss with your physician immediately:

· Chest pain or irregular heart rate
· Difficulty breathing
· Problems urinating or discolored urine
· Skin rash
· High blood pressure
· Yellow color in skin or in the whites of your eyes
· Vomiting
· Flu-like symptoms
· Mood changes including irritability, agitation or excessive crying or depression
· Suicidal thoughts
· Abdominal pain or tenderness


(2005, Sept 29). Patient Information Sheet - Atomoxetine. from U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site:

(2006, June). Information for Patients or Parents of Children Taking Concerta. from Center of Attention Web Web site: http;//

Methylphenidate. from Medline Plus Web site:

(2005, April 1). Patient Information Sheet for Adderall. from U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site:

Eileen Bailey
Meet Our Writer
Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is to provide readers with relevant and practical information on health conditions to help them make informed decisions regarding their health care.