Many different classes of drugs1 have been utilized in the treatment attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also called attention deficit disorder 1. Here we will describe the side effects of a selected list of ADHD therapeutics by their generic names.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Amphetamine-derived stimulants work by increasing the synaptic concentrations of dopamine and norepinephrine.2 These drugs were historically used to treat obesity, and common side effects include loss of appetite, increased wakefulness, sleep disturbances and low risk of suicidal thoughts and psychotic symptoms. Drugs used to treat ADHD include:
Methylphenidate This drug may also cause the worsening of tics an increased risk of seizures.
Amphetamine This drug may also cause growth delay in children and an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Sudden withdraw of amphetamine can cause symptoms such as depression and sever fatigue, especially after regular usage over an extended period of time.
Secondary Tricyclic antidepressants
While the mechanism of action of this class of drugs is unknown, these molecule have been observed to increase the synaptic concentrations of serotonin and norepinephrine.3 Common side effects of these drugs include:
- daytime drowsiness
- blurred vision
- dry mouth
- urinary disturbances
- sexual problems
The drugs used for ADHD include:
Tertiary Tricyclic antidepressants
These molecules are very similar to the secondary tricyclic antidepressants in their activities and side effects, however the side effects tend to be more pronounced and also include potential cardiotoxicity and increased frequency of seizures.3 The drugs used for ADHD include:
Drugs used to treat ADHD include:
Phenelzine This is an irreversible inhibitor of two forms of MAO that can be prescribed for depression. Its effects can last for up to two weeks after cessation of its use.
Selegiline This s an irreversible inhibitor of one form of MAO that can be prescribed for Parkinson’s disease. Its side effects include orthostatic hypotension and hallucinations.
Clonidine Most side effects of clonidine are mild and tend to diminish with continued usage. Combination therapy of clonidine and methylphenidate can negatively affect cardiac condition and increase patient risk for arrhythmia. Withdraw symptoms of this drug include:
- increased salvation
- increased blood pressure
- irregular or increased heart rate
Modafinil Modafinil is a wake-promoting used to treat narcolepsy, but has many off-label uses including ADHD treatment.4 The most common side effects include:
- abdominal pain
- stuffy nose.1
Many different classes of drugs1 have been utilized in the treatment attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , also called attention deficit disorder. Its effects can last for up to two weeks after cessation of its use. Combination therapy of clonidine and methylphenidate can negatively affect cardiac condition and increase patient risk for arrhythmia. Modafinil Modafinil is a wake-promoting used to treat narcolepsy, but has many off-label uses including ADHD treatment.4 The most common side effects include: insomnia, abdominal pain, anorexia, cough, fever, stuffy nose.1 .
- Lancet: Attention-deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Cortese, S.et al. Practitioner review: current best practice in the management of adverse events during treatment with ADHD medications in children and adolescents. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2013, 54, 227-46.
- Foye's Principles of Medicinal Chemistry. 7 ed.; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: 2012.
- Ballon, J. S.; Feifel, D. A systematic review of modafinil: Potential clinical uses and mechanisms of action. J Clin Psychiatry 2006, 67, 554-66.