24 March 2009

Taking Vyvanse for ADHD

Vyvanse (brand name) is a stimulant drug called lisdexamfetamine. It affects brain chemicals that are linked to hyperactivity and impulse control. It can be used as part of a treatment plan for ADHD.

Here are some recommendations and precautions:

Like many other ADHD medications, do not start Vyvanse if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam) within the past 3 weeks. The MAO chemicals must be completely cleared out the body before starting Vyvanse. Otherwise, very serious side effects might occur.

All children and adolescents need to have an EKG and/or ECG (heart ultrasound) before taking Vyvanse. Possible unknown heart defects need to be ruled out to qualify the patient for taking Vyvanse and a few other ADHD medications. Some stimulants have caused sudden death youngsters who had unknown heart problems.

Take Vyvanse in the morning because it may cause sleep problems (insomnia) if taken later in the day.

The capsule should be swallowed whole or opened and sprinkled into a glass of water. After the medicine has dissolved, drink the whole glass right away. Never take with vitamin C supplements or vitamin C rich juices or drinks because this vitamin interferes with the aborption of Vyvanse.

This medication might cause you to have unusual results on certain medical tests. Tell the doctor who ordered the test that you are on Vyvanse.


Side effect warnings:

Long-term use of Vyvanse as well as other ADHD medications can slow a child's growth. Some doctors might recommend not taking the medication on weekends, school holidays and during summer vacation. Tell the doctor right away if height or weight gain has slowed or stopped.

This medication is associated with premature birth, low birth weight, and/or withdrawal symptoms in a newborn baby if the mother takes Vyvanse during her pregnancy. Vyvanse can also pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.

Vyvanse can impair your thinking and reactions. Be careful if you drive, operate machinery or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Some patients report a skin rash. Call the doctor the same day if this occurs.
You might experience sleep problems (insomnia) or a dry mouth or an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Drink something or chew some gum.


Do not use Vyvanse if you:

  • are allergic to lisdexamfetamine (hives, difficulty breathing, swelling face, tongue or lips)
  • have hardened arteries (arteriosclerosis)
  • have heart disease or other heart problems/issues
  • suffer from moderate to severe high blood pressure (hypertension,
  • have an overactive thyroid
  • have glaucoma
  • have severe anxiety or agitation
  • have a history of drug or alcohol addiction
  • are or might be pregnant
  • are breast feeding a baby
  • under the age of 6 years


Your doctor might have to adjust dosages or do tests first, so please tell your doctor if there is a personal or family history of:


An overdose of or bad reaction to Vyvanse can be fatal. Keep this medication out of the reach of children and keep track of how many pills are in the container. Seek emergency help immediately.

Overdose/reaction symptoms are:
  • restlessness
  • tremors, shaking
  • muscle twitches, tics
  • rapid breathing, shortness of breath
  • confusion, anxiety
  • hallucinations, unusual behavior
  • panic, anxiety
  • aggressiveness, strange behavior
  • nausea, vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pains, chest pains
  • unexplained muscle pain or tenderness
  • muscle weakness
  • irregular or pounding heartbeat
  • light-headedness, feeling faint
  • seizures, convulsions
  • fever or flu symptoms
  • dark colored urine
  • coma
  • depression and tiredness
  • severe headache
  • blurred vision
  • buzzing or ringing in ears


Before taking Vyvanse, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • ammonium chloride,
  • ascorbic acid (vitamin C),
  • K-Phos;
  • blood pressure medications;
  • a diuretic (water pill);
  • cold or allergy medicines (antihistamines);
  • chlorpromazine (Thorazine);
  • ethosuximide (Zarontin);
  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid);
  • methenamine (Hiprex, Mandelamine, Urex);
  • phenytoin (Dilantin),
  • phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton);
  • pain medication such as meperidine (Demerol) or propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet)
  • an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil), or nortriptyline (Pamelor).

Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, supplements and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

17 March 2009

ADHD Questionaire

Answer the questions to this list. If you think your child might have ADHD, take the list to the pediatrician for a referral to a child psychiatrist. That doctor will probably have their own list. Boys are scored differently than girls. Get each parent, teacher, scout leader and caregiver this questionaire. Please think about the past 6 months, not the past week or yesterday.

Be aware that ADHD-like behavior is NORMAL for toddlers. It's when the elementary school aged child hasn't grown out of this stage and it starts interfering with learning, that ADHD is suspected.

Symptoms of Inattention - Please answer as Never, Sometimes, Often, or Very Often

  1. Fails to see details or read instructions
  2. Makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  3. Has difficulty paying attention in tasks or play activities
  4. Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly (in one ear, out the other)
  5. Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
  6. Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities, seems overwhelmed
  7. Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as homework)
  8. Loses things (toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
  9. Is easily distracted by outside stimuli (items on table, desk, a pet walks by, a noise in another room)
  10. Is forgetful in daily activities such as getting ready in the morning or at bedtime
  11. Unable to follow 2 or 3 item verbal list of instructions (brush your teeth and put on PJ's)
  12. Doesn't pay attention to own body - doesn't wipe nose, doesn't care about potty accidents (this is different than being embarrassed and not wanting anyone to know)

Symptoms of Hyperactivity - Please answer with Never, Sometimes, Often or Very Often
  1. Fidgets with hands or feet, must be doing something with them
  2. Squirms in carseat or seat at school, church, meetings or during a meal. Just can't relax and sit still.
  3. Leaves seat in classroom when remaining seated is required
  4. Runs about or climbs in situations in which it is inappropriate
  5. Has difficulty playing quietly, must be noisy
  6. Is 'on the go' or acts as if 'driven by a motor'
  7. Talks too much

Symptoms of Impulsivity - Please answer with Never, Sometimes, Often, or Very Often
  1. Shouts out answers before questions have been completed or when told to raise hand
  2. Has difficulty waiting his or her turn in lines or during games
  3. Interrupts conversations
  4. Doesn't think before acting - runs into street or parking lot, grabs things they want at the store


Related Articles:

Stroop Test for ADHD

14 March 2009

Recommended ADHD Books for Teachers

The following list of books is for teachers and includes links to Amazon.

ADD and the College Student : A Guide for High School and College Students With Attention Deficit Disorder Patricia O. Quinn (Editor)

ADHD in the Schools : Assessment and Intervention Strategies (Guilford School Practitioner Series) George J. Dupaul, Gary Stoner (Contributor)

All About ADHD : The Complete Practical Guide for Classroom Teachers (Teaching Strategies) Linda Pfiffner

Attention Deficit Disorder : Helpful, Practical Information : A Guide for Parents & Educators (Guides for Parents and Educators Series) Elaine K. McEwan

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (In Adults and Children) : The Latest Assessment and Treatment Strategies Juliet L. Jett, Ph. D.

Attention Deficits, Learning Disabilities, and Ritalin : A Practical Guide Robert B. Johnston

Attention Without Tension : A Teacher's Handbook on Attention Deficit Disorders Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in the Classroom : A Practical Guide for Teachers Carol A. Dowdy and others

Diagnosing Learning Disorders : A Neuropsychological Framework Bruce F., Ph.D. Pennington

How to Reach and Teach ADD/ADHD Children : Practical Techniques, Strategies, and Interventions Sandra F. Rief

Learning Disabilities Sourcebook : Basic Information About Disorders Such As Dyslexia, Visual and Auditory Processing Deficits, Attention Deficit Linda M. Shin & Linda M. Ross (Editors)

Performance Breakthroughs for Adolescents With Learning Disabilities or ADD : How to Help Students Succeed in the Regular Education Classroom Geraldine Markel, Judith Greenbaum /

Peterson's Colleges With Programs for Students With Learning Disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorders (5th Ed) Charles T. Mangrum, Stephen S. Strichart (Contributor)

Succeeding in College With Attention Deficit Disorders : Issues and Strategies for Students, Counselors and Educators Jennifer S. Bramer, Phd

Teaching Study Skills and Strategies to Students With Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorders, or Special Needs Stephen S. Strichart and others

Teaching the Tiger : A Handbook for Individuals Involved in the Education of Students With Attention Deficit Disorders, Tourette Syndrome or OCD Marilyn P. Dornbush, Ph.D., Sheryl K.Pruitt

The A.D.D. Hyperactivity Workbook for Parents, Teachers, and Kids Harvey C. Parker and others

The ADD Hyperactivity Handbook for Schools : Effective Strategies for Identifying and Teaching Add Students in Elementary and Secondary Schools Harvey C. Parker

The Hyperactive Child Book : Treating, Educating, and Living With an Adhd Child - Strategies That Really Work, from an Award-Winning Team of Experts Patricia Kennedy and others

Windows into the A.D.D. Mind : Understanding and Treating Attention Deficit Disorders in the Everyday Lives of Children, Adolescents and Adults Daniel G. Amen, MD.

Click HERE for a listing of books recommended for parents.

Recommended ADHD Book List for Parents

The following list of books is recommended for parents. Each has a link to Amazon.

ADD : Helping Your Child : Untying the Knot of Attention Deficit Disorders Warren, Ph.D. Umansky, Barbara Smalley (Contributor)

ADD and the College Student : A Guide for High School and College Students With Attention Deficit Disorder Patricia O. Quinn (Editor)

ADD/ADHD Behavior-Change Resource Kit : Ready-To-Use Strategies & Activities for Helping Children With Attention Deficit Disorder Grad L., Ph.D. Flick

ADHD : How to Deal With Very Difficult Children (Human Horizons Series) Alan Train

ADHD and Teens : A Parent's Guide to Making It Through the Tough Years Colleen Alexander-Roberts & Paul T. Elliott

ADHD in the Schools : Assessment and Intervention Strategies (Guilford School Practitioner Series) George J. Dupaul, Gary Stoner (Contributor)

Adult ADD : The Complete Handbook : Everything You Need to Know About How to Cope and Live Well With ADD/ADHD David Sudderth MD and others

Attention Deficit Disorder : Helpful, Practical Information : A Guide for Parents & Educators (Guides for Parents and Educators Series) Elaine K. McEwan

Attention Deficit Disorder : A Different Perception Thom Hartmann

Attention Deficit Disorders Hyperactivity and Associated Disorders : A Handbook for Parents and Professionals Wendy S. Coleman

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder : What Every Parent Wants to Know David L. Wodrich (Editor)

Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Larry M. Silver

Driven to Distraction : Recognizing and Coping With Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood Edward M. Hallowell, John J. Ratey (Contributor)

Hyperactivity : Why Won't My Child Pay Attention? Sam Goldstein & Michael Goldstein

Life on the Edge : Parenting a Child With ADD/ADHD David Spohn

Power Parenting for Add/Adhd Children : A Practical Parent's Guide for Managing Difficult Behaviors Grad L. Flick, Harvey C. Parker

Putting on the Brakes : Young People's Guide to Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Patricia O. Quinn, Judith M. Stern

Recipes for Health : Hyperactive Child : Over 150 Recipes to Help Hyperactivity and Other Food Intolerances Janet Ash and others

Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World : Unlocking the Potential of Your ADD Child Jeffrey Freed and others

Survival Strategies for Parenting Your ADD Child : Dealing With Obsessions Compulsions, Depression, Explosive Behavior, and Rage George T. Lynn

Taking Charge of ADHD : The Complete, Authoritative Guide for Parents Russell A. Barkley, Phd.

The A.D.D. and A.D.H.D. Diet! : A Comprehensive Look at Contributing Factors and Natural Treatments for Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity Rachel Bell and others

The A.D.D. Book : New Understandings, New Approaches to Parenting Your Child William Sears & Lynda Thompson

The ADD Nutrition Solution : A Drug-Free Thirty Day Plan Marcia Zimmerman

The ADHD Parenting Handbook : Practical Advice for Parents from Parents Colleen Alexander-Roberts

The Attention Deficit Answer Book : The Best Medications and Parenting Strategies for Your Child Michael Boyette, Alan Wachtel, MD

The Attention Zone : A Parent's Guide to Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Michael W. Cohen, MD.

The Hyperactive Child, Adolescent, and Adult : Attention Deficit Disorder Through the Lifespan Paul H. Wender

*Click HERE for a listing of books recommended for teachers and other professionals who work with children.

10 March 2009

Side Effects of ADHD Medicatons: Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin and Straterra

The following is a listing of common side effects for several ADHD medications.

Read your pharmacy label regarding allergic reactions - if the label uses a Latin word you've never heard of, look it up and write it down on your paperwork so that you know what to look out for.

Make sure you or your child gets the heart checked out first before starting ADHD medications. There could be unknown heart issues that are important for the doctor to know before prescribing.

If one medicine doesn't work out, you can always try a different one. Each person is different.

My daughter is on Adderall. She had trouble falling asleep at night for a month or two but she's fine now. Just had to get used to it, I guess.

Dry mouth
Funny taste in the mouth
Impotence/changes in sex drive

Stomach pain
Decreased appetite
Increased blood pressure

Loss of appetite
Involuntary muscle movements
Blood pressure and pulse changes
Chest pain/pressue
Irregular heartbeat
Abdominal pain

Decreased appetite
Mood swings

02 March 2009

ADHD and Sleep Problems Linked

SLEEP recently published an article about a study that suggests children with ADHD may be sleep deprived and have abnormal REM sleep. The study was conducted by the Attention, Behaviour and Sleep Lab at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute

The study found that children with ADHD have a total sleep time that is a bit shorter than that of children without ADHD - an average of about 33 minutes less. Children with ADHD also had an average rapid eye movement (REM) sleep time that averaged about 16 minutes less.

The study believes that apnea and other sleep problems make ADHD worse in children. Finding a way to rid children of their sleep distrubances can help alleviate the severity of their ADHD.
Anyone who suffers sleep loss on a daily basis experiences sleepiness and neurobehavioural impairment, which interferes with daytime learning and the ability to pay attention in school or at work.

Additional studies are needed to see whether shorter sleep duration in children with ADHD is associated with short attention spans, behavioural problems and low neurocognitive functioning. The authors would like to next see if improving sleep helps alleviate some of the symptoms of ADHD.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine