Ritalin and Headaches


"Is it normal to experience headaches from Ritalin and other ADHD psychostimulants? How can they be prevented?"

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

Headache is a possible side effect when taking stimulants. It usually starts early in the use of the ADHD medication and occurs daily while on the medication.

Most children and adults experiencing these headaches describe them as being general and covering their entire head. Occasionally, these headaches go away after several weeks on the medication. If they do not, it is best to try another medication. We do not know what causes these headaches and how to prevent them, and it is not reasonable to expect a person to live with them.

Larry Silver, M.D., is the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities. He is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
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