View Full Version : Switching from Adderall XR to....????

12-15-14, 03:44 PM
My son was diagnosed winter 2013 at 6 years old with ADHD (mainly inattentive/impulsive). He has been on it since then. We have increased his initial 5mg dose gradual over the past 2 years. He now takes 15mg XR every morning. While the medication seems to work well for the ADHD symptoms (he is calm, does well in school academically) there are side effects that have become more pronounced. He has become shy, at times it would appear he is socially withdrawn. He often appears to have a "black cloud" over him, will be a bad mood for no real reason. At first when he was on Adderall, he was more emotional and would cry easily (and he's never been a crier). That got better but now he is often irritable and can be mean to his younger sisters. He doesn't get excited/happy about much. Lately he is becoming more self aware and has told me he feels like he'll never fit in. He thinks everyone in his class thinks he's stupid -- I mentioned this to his teacher and she was surprised, saying that he always contributes great ideas in class and overall has more general knowledge than anyone in his class. So partly it may be a self-image thing. Recently he got upset over something at school - no one had done or said anything, he just started to feel bad and his teacher found him with a metal chair leg across his neck saying he wanted to kill himself. Obviously, I'm extremely concerned about this and made an appointment with our family doctor right away.

I am seeing him tomorrow and will be looking into changing medications. My first thought is that maybe the Adderall mixed salts just isn't a good fit for him. He has a bit of anxiety but it seems to be much more pronounced now. I even had him tested for PICA because he kept chewing things. It stopped for awhile but now he's chewing holes in his shirts and doesn't even realize he's doing it. His fingernails are chewed very short.

I have three medications in mind to try, but if we find a good fit I won't bother to try the others. Or if none work, I will keep trying. The first is Focalin XR -- maybe he'll do better on methyphenidate than amphetamine. He also has very low appetite so the Focalin might help lessen the appetite loss. The other two that I might try would be Concerta and if we need to try a non-stimulant medication, I would try him on Strattera.

I know everyone is different but if your child has had similar side effects on Adderall, what did you switch them to? What did you find was the best fit or are you still looking?

12-16-14, 12:36 PM
Hi. This whole ADHD thing is rough - isn't it? I'm dealing with med issues myself with my 9 yr old son. We are on our 4th med. 1st - Concerta, but he started picking at scabs and heard strange buzzing noises in his ears (I even took him to an ENT and they checked his hearing - said he was fine). 2nd - Ritalin, started with this strange breathing where he takes 2 short quick breaths. Ugh. 3rd - Adderall. Strange breathing continues. So now doctor has changed to nonstimulant - Guanfacine. This drug is supposed to help child so they don't have "tics". So frustrating. At one point his doctor casually mentioned if a child has 2 or more tics it is called Tourette's. I'm looking at her like he never had any problems before he started taking these ADHD meds.

I will be happy to let you know our experience with nonstimulant. It is more expensive but if it helps child - especially in school - I'm all in. Plus, I hate having him have side effects.

12-17-14, 12:03 PM
Thanks for the feedback. Definitely let me know how your journey goes. I will do the same too.

The meeting with our doctor went well and he agreed it was the right thing to take him off Adderall. So right now, he's having a break from all meds for a few days, maybe up to a week or so, while we figure out what to try. So far, he has been okay - a little sillier, fidgety for sure, a bit hyper - but he's also really happy, laughing and dancing around, smiling and making jokes. He hasn't been anxious, no more snapping at everyone for no reason, no more bad moods, he's eating better, having more fun with his friends. Unfortunately, the ADHD does interfere with his learning so we feel that he does need something to help him focus and help with impulse control. Our doctor is consulting with some pediatric ADHD specialists so hopefully we'll have something to go on soon. I have 80% drug coverage so I'm willing to try whatever they suggest. Doctor and specialists are covered 100%.

12-19-14, 11:10 AM
MrsMoMo - since you're in Canada have you considered Biphentin?

It's in the methyphenidate family and as far as I know it is only available in Canada.

It was the first med we tried with my daughter and we haven't found another med since that we have liked as much. Controlled her ADHD symptoms without any of the rough edges.

The problem for my daughter is that she developed tics, so we have had to move on to other things. But if that isn't an issue for your son it's something to consider talking to your doctor about.

01-03-15, 09:55 PM
MrsMoMo, your post since taking your son off of Adderall sounds exactly like my son. He is actually smiling now, not quiet, not moody, doesn't pick at scabs, and eats!! The doctor looked at me like she couldn't believe it. She said most kids respond better to the other stimulant meds.
I have noticed though that he still takes a small little breath every now and then that he can't control. I am scratching my head wondering what to do. I am seriously thinking about taking him to see an ADHD specialist like you. I feel as though the specialists are the ones that truly understand this problem. Also - I hate my kid being a guinea pig as I'm sure you are also.

01-04-15, 08:41 AM
I know no one meant anything by this so don't be offended but I take issue when people say they don't want their kids to seem like guinea pigs. Trial and error doesn't make your kid an experiment. It makes you a good parent.

01-04-15, 12:36 PM
I know no one meant anything by this so don't be offended but I take issue when people say they don't want their kids to seem like guinea pigs. Trial and error doesn't make your kid an experiment. It makes you a good parent.

Sarah, please don't take offense, but I think your post was out of line. Trial and error IS experimentation. Unfortunately, there is no "one size fits all" treatment for adhd and it is natural for parents to feel this way until they hit on the best treatment.

01-12-15, 11:37 AM
We decided to give our son half the dose of Adderall that he was taking before (he was taking 15mg) and he takes an Omega 3 supplement every morning (4 omega gummies). He's doing really well and I'm starting to think that the problem may have been that the dose was too high. So we're going to give the half dose until the specialist apt at the end of the month and we'll go from there. In the meantime, at half the dose he is still able to focus and not act impulsively but he's still very sociable, not anxious, and he's not moody.

01-13-15, 10:19 AM
My son is exactly the same way on meds. He is sad, withdrawn, cries a lot, pale, unmotivated, he actually looked sullen and had circles under his eyes. We had to remove all meds after trying quite a few. When he mentioned wanting to die, it was the final straw for me. Now that he's off, he's so much happier.

He still has a lot of self esteem issues. He's very hard on himself and often says he's not good enough, or he's stupid. We're working on it, but its been rough. Puberty is not helping.

01-14-15, 11:58 AM
The half dose of Adderall was not really giving him the focus he needed at school, so we've decided to try Concerta. Today is his first day so I'll report back in a few days or a week to give an update.