How to Stop Appetite Loss


"I’m worried about my 10-year-old. He hasn’t gained any weight in the two years he’s been taking a stimulant, even though we’ve worked with a nutritionist to add calories to his diet."

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

I share your concern. Appetite loss, a common side effect of stimulant medications, usually goes away within a few weeks (or, as you know, can be managed by ensuring that enough calories are taken in). Since it’s been two years, and calorie supplementation hasn’t helped your son, I urge you to talk to your doctor about switching to another medication.

Some children who experience appetite loss while taking one stimulant do fine on a different one. If switching stimulants doesn’t help, ask the doctor about a nonstimulant.

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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