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).

Headaches are a possible side effect when taking stimulants like Ritalin. 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.

For more information on commonly prescribed ADHD medications and their side effects, check out:

Concerta FAQ

Dexedrine FAQ

Adderall FAQ

Curious about real-world experiences with Ritalin? Check out our ADHD medication review section on ADDConnect.

"I have used it for 5 days now and have experienced major crashes when the drug wears off" in Just Started on Ritalin - Major Crashes - Help!

"I went on Ritalin (actually the generic, methylphenidate) a few months ago and it was working great - until I started a new job a couple of months ago" in Ritalin 20 mg Works Great!

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as 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.
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