switching from Adderall to Concerta? Help!!

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    • #187442


      My 9 year old son has been taking 15mg of Adderall XR for almost 2 years now. It never really seemed to help that much, but it did help him focus better in school and actually hyper focus on things he was interested in such as video games or lego. He always had the crashes at the end of the day and not easy to get him to sleep at night but we kept with it until last March when school shut down. I wanted to give him a break, and noticed he seemed so much happier (hyper!) but he ate well, slept well and had that spark back and ended up having a big growth spurt as he was actually eating food. It was not easy for our family as he is extremely hyper, obnoxious, never stopped talking but was a nice break for him to be off any medication for 6 months.

      We put him back on Adderall XR 15mg in Sept and he immediately seemed like a different child. Quieter, more emotional outburst, not eating much, very cranky at times. Some days are ok, but it seems like it really isn’t helping him. He takes it before school and has been having rough days trying to focus and has a bad attitude not liking doing the ‘work’ of school. He can be grumpy and rude to his teachers and to other kids. He won’t eat any of his lunch and by the afternoon he is extra emotional or cranky and ends up at the principals office often which agitates him more and has even had a few meltdowns.

      We took him to the paediatrician and he suggested adding intunniv in the evenings to help offset the Adderall. We tried it for 2 weeks, but it seemed to make things worse. He had a huge meltdown at school last week as he was being sent to the principals office again for being disrespectful to others and he had a meltdown so bad, I had to take him out of school for a few days. I feel like the Adderall is not helping enough and adding in the intunniv did not help either.

      I am now thinking of giving Concerta a shot. I was hoping for some advice as I am at a loss and my son is really struggling. He is now anxious about going to school and it breaks my heart for him.

      Has anyone had these negative effects from Adderall?
      Thank you in advance.

    • #187469

      My son is 6 and has similar challenges. We have tried Adderall XR and it was not a good fit for him. We’ve also tried a generic Methylphenidate, which was like giving him a sugar pill – It did nothing for him. What seems to work best is Vyvanse. Even with Vyvanse he’s still moody, has a poor appetite and difficulty getting to sleep but the benefits he gets from it far outweigh the negatives. We also tried adding Intuniv for the moodiness and crashes but my son became a zombie. It took his personality and that wasn’t worth it to us. We have not found the perfect combo and perhaps there’s not one Right now I try to address the issues one by one. The moodiness is just an ongoing battle I’ll admit and once I can get him into a therapist (NOT a virtual appointment!) I hope it will help us with this. Anger and moodiness definitely increases with hunger for him. I think his body feels off but he doesn’t recognize it as hunger because of the meds and instead it comes out as being short with us or angry. To prevent this I try to put food in his hands rather than asking if he’s hungry, asking just elicits an angry “NO” from him. I think “snacks” sometimes work better for my son than sitting for a meal. I find he will eat a lot more while watching a favorite show at breakfast or lunch – we don’t allow this at dinner. My son won’t eat his lunch at school but he will drink a shake! Grow & Gain shakes are great for school lunches. I get the organic because it has a lot less junk in it but your son is 9 and might find that “babyish”. If so, Carnation Instant Breakfast shakes have no artificial flavorings or dyes and are another good option. For bedtime, we use .05 mg of Melatonin. I know there are different schools of thought on this but for us his sleep is extremely important and if it’s what he needs to get it than so be it.

      Also, have you removed artificial flavors and dyes from your son’s diet? This was huge for us!! When we did this for our son, the difference in behavior and ability to get to sleep at night was measurably improved. Red 40 and Vanillin (artificial vanilla) are my sons big triggers but we try to avoid all if we can. It’s not always doable, especially with Halloween and holidays. The Feingold Association website has lots of good info – so does ADDitude.

      We’ve also been doing Play Attention for a few months now. It’s expensive and I’m not sure if it works or not. I feel like I see some small changes but who knows.

      I hope some of this helps. This is hard – stay strong.

    • #187492

      Get well soon to him, I am sure you and him will overcome that. Stay safe and wish you both well!

    • #187501

      Thank you very much for the advice! I really appreciate it. Your situation sounds similar.. we also do shakes (boost for kids, Carnation instant breakfast) and I am constantly giving my son “snacks” as he hardly eats so I just put it in front of him to pick at while he watches tv in the morning and after school. It really helps to keep him from getting “hangry”. I just can’t get anything into him at school as I’m not there, so that doesn’t help things. I really believe the medication not eating are what causes the grumpy moodiness as he seemed like a nice kid when he was taking a long break from meds.

      We try to stay away from colors and dyes but not always easy, especially at Halloween last week. I would love to try cutting back on gluten and sugar but it’s not easy when he is such a picky eater and not hungry I just try to get him to eat anything.

      I will def look into Vyvanse, thank you. I guess it’s all trial and error.

      Thanks again!

    • #187507

      My son is 10-years-old and was diagnosed at about 5, we tried Adderall which was fantastic ….at first. Then we tried to Strattera, which was a nightmare, he was cranky, aggressive, and hyper-emotional. I decided to forgo medicine for about a year or so because he was exhausted and overwhelmed. I figured he needed a “cleanse” so to speak. It was ROUGH. We moved onto Concerta, and have been on Concerta for about 2-3 years now, and it’s the only medication that seems to work, he is still my boy on it, some days he doesn’t sleep the best, but, I attribute most of that to 2020 and the never-ending emotional rollercoaster we’ve all been on. We did take a small break from Concerta and tried Vyvanse, and it was terrible, took hours to kick in, when it did finally kick in, it barely worked. Concerta has consistently worked.
      I have found, with eating, if I offer my son food, he will claim he is not “hungry” if I put food in front of him, he eats! I give him his medicine after breakfast, and I make sure he gets a large breakfast. I think most children with ADHD, their preoccupied and if they are doing something they like, they will forgo eating (and everything else lol) because they can’t pry themselves away from it. Sleeping, some days he sleeps great, other days, not so much. Keeping a consistent routine helps, when he goes to his dad’s house, it throws off his cycle, and it’s like I have to reprogram it when he returns. I also found a meditation CD, that he listens to at bedtime, and it helps calm him down, as well as this galaxy light ceiling display that seems to zen him out as well, no electronics/tv 30 minutes to an hour before bed. We occasionally use Olly sleeping pills. Being a Mom to a kid with ADHD is no joke, but rest assured you’re not alone in the struggle! Hang in there đŸ™‚

    • #187549
      Penny Williams

      When you stop a stimulant for an extended period, you need to start back at the lowest dose and titrate again. That jump from 0 to 15 could be causing some of the irritability and mood issues. Or, he just may not be able to tolerate that medication anymore.

      There are two types of stimulants: amphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse, Evekeo…) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Quillivant…). Almost everyone does well on one type or the other, but not both. So, if he’s done well on Adderall in the past, that could signal that he does best on amphetamine based stimulants. The only way to know which is best for him though, is to try both types. So, maybe it is time to try something like Concerta.

      A Patient’s Primer on the Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD

      Discuss all of this with his prescribing doctor.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #187577

      Thank you very much, I really appreciate hearing of others experiences and advice. We also tried Strattera back when my son was 6 years old for a few months and it was awful. He was always nauseous and really sad, emotional etc.

      I will try Olly melatonin, I have some here for myself, is the one you use for kids? The one I have is for adults, but maybe giving him only 1 may help. We tried another kid brand in the past and didn’t notice it helped much, although that was a few years back.

      I was under the impression that taking breaks from stimulant was ok and my Ped never mentioned weaning him slowly back on. It makes sense though.

      I think we will try Concerta over the Christmas break from school. Hopefully it helps better than Adderall, if not, at least we tried and know.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 2 months ago by arse.
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