ADHD Medication: Affecting the Appetite

Lots of kids struggle maintaining their appetite while taking ADHD medication. As a parent, keeping your child healthy is obviously a major concern. Focus-MD’s Dr. Wiley has some helpful tips to help you and your child keep a healthy lifestyle while managing ADHD.

Stimulant medication is more effective than non-stimulant medication for most Kids with ADHD. Appetite suppression is real, especially at lunch. Be sure that kids eat a protein rich breakfast and a healthy dinner. At lunch have them eat something that contains protein-think small volume, high protein, high calorie foods—a cheese stick is a perfect example. Worry less about the appetite and more about growth. If your child’s growth is normal and BMI (body mass index) is healthy then don’t worry about appetite and treat the ADHD with what works best. Taking stimulants seven days a week usually helps appetite recover faster than giving medication less regularly. If the medication is working well and the only significant side effect is weight loss adding cyproheptadine can be helpful. This antihistamine can be used for its side effect of increasing appetite and promoting weight gain!

The ADHD medication, Stratterra, can cause stomach upset and appetite issues as well. Be sure to give it in the evening but not too close to bed time. Other common side effects are mood issues and somnolence. Like antidepressants, Stratterra carries a Black Box warning from the FDA because of an increased risk of suicidal thoughts while taking it. Stratterra is the only ADHD medication that IS dosed by weight and the dose is usually gradually increased to the effective dose.

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