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Advanced Alternative Medicine Center

Advanced Alternative Medicine Center

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ADD/ADHD Medicines and Safety 

The Medical Perspective

The FDA has issued a warning about the risk of drug abuse with amphetamine stimulants. FDA safety advisors are also concerned about the possibility that all amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants used for ADHD may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems.

The FDA has also issued a warning about a connection between antidepressants (including the non-stimulant Strattera) and an increased risk of suicide in adults aged 18-24, especially in the first one or two months of treatment.

While these risks may seem alarming, keep in mind that experts generally consider these medicines safe. Serious problems are rare. Still, you should discuss the risks and benefits of these drugs with your doctor.

Adderall XR

(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects of Adderall XR. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Adderall XR side effects with you.)

Common Side Effects of Adderall XR

Adderall XR has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, with many people having been evaluated. In these studies, the side effects that occurred in a group of people taking the drug were documented and then compared to the side effects that occurred in another group of people taking a placebo (a "sugar pill" that does not contain any active ingredients). As a result, it was possible to see what side effects occurred, how often they appeared, and how they compared to the group not taking the medicine.

Based on these studies, the most common Adderall XR side effects include: 

  • Loss of appetite -- in up to 36 percent of people
  • Dry mouth -- up to 35 percent
  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) -- up to 27 percent
  • Headaches -- up to 26 percent
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain) -- up to 14 percent
  • Temporary increase in blood pressure -- up to 11 percent
  • Weight loss -- up to 11 percent
  • Emotional changes -- up to 9 percent
  • Nausea, upset stomach, or vomiting -- up to 8 percent
  • Dizziness -- up to 7 percent
  • Diarrhea -- up to 6 percent
  • Feeling of weakness (asthenia) -- up to 6 percent
  • Increased heart rate (tachycardia) -- up to 6 percent
  • Infection, including urinary tract infection (UTI) -- up to 5 percent
  • Fever -- up to 5 percent
  • Heartburn -- up to 2 percent.

Adderall XR can also cause a temporary slowing of growth in children. This is usually small (less than an inch and less than two pounds), and children usually catch up to within normal limits in time.

Adderall XR Side Effects to Report

Some side effects with Adderall XR, while occurring infrequently, are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to: 

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Confusion
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain or heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Depression
  • More outgoing or aggressive behavior than normal
  • Strange behavior
  • Hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not really there)
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Unexplained rash
  • Hives
  • Uncontrolled movements of the head, neck, mouth, arms, or legs (known as tics).

Rare Side Effects Seen With Adderall XR

Rare Adderall XR side effects were reported in very few people taking the drug. Given how uncommon these side effects are, it is difficult to tell whether they are caused by the medication or something else.

Some of these rare side effects include but are not limited to: 

  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Constipation
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Impotence
  • Decreased sex drive  

If you have seizures, heart problems, or mental problems, Adderall XR can aggravate the symptoms of these conditions. 

Final Thoughts

You may experience some or none of the side effects listed in this article. Unfortunately, there is no way for your healthcare provider to know beforehand if you will have side effects from a medicine that you have never tried. Therefore, be sure to let your healthcare provider know if you develop any side effects while taking the drug. Also, let your healthcare provider know if you develop something that "just does not seem right." While it may not be a side effect of Adderall XR, your healthcare provider will be able to diagnose and treat the problem.

The Alternative Perspective Your Solution

If you are currently taking prescription medication for your symptoms and are interested in building more health and perhaps getting off your medication by addressing the cause of your health concern, please call the office and let us discuss your options.  I will work with your medical doctor to restore your health and reduce or eliminate the need for medication.

When Your Health Matters

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