ANNOUNCER: There are two groups of stimulant medications prescribed for ADHD: the amphetamines, which include Adderall preparations, and the methylphenidate group which includes Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin and the Daytrana patch. As with all medications, there can be side effects associated with stimulants.
MELVIN OATIS, MD: The primary side effects associated with stimulant medication are common ones, are headache and stomachache, which are usually transient side effects that go away within a few weeks of treatment, but you need to be aware of them. Another common side effect is a decreased appetite. Also when children first start medication, it can have an impact upon their sleep, so you really have to monitor what time of day that you're giving it so that the medication is out of their system in order for them to have a successful, restful night of sleep.
ANNOUNCER: One side effect stimulants do not carry is the risk for addiction.
MELVIN OATIS, MD: In terms of addiction, the stimulant medications are not addictive. In fact, they have been shown from the research perspective that treating the child's ADHD symptoms will later in life decrease the chances of them becoming addicted to other types of medication. So it's actually something that is beneficial.
ANNOUNCER: The first available stimulants were short-acting medications that are taken several times a day.