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Women with ADD/ADHD This forum is for women to discuss issues related to being a woman with AD/HD.

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Old 05-10-17, 10:25 PM
ad1221 ad1221 is offline
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Birth control & adderall--HELP!

I am a 32 year old nursing student. I was recently diagnosed ADD and started on Adderall IR 20mg back in Jan. I'm prescribed to take it twice a day. As crazy as this may sound, I go through phases with it. Normally for the two weeks after my period, which I guess is the follicular phase, the effectiveness of the adderall is wonderful. I can sit and study for hours without any struggles. Then about a week before I start my period and the week of my period, the effectiveness of the adderall is null and void. I've gotten to the point that I don't like taking it during this time, which I guess is considered the luteal phase, because it doesn't work. We recently added birth control (Zovia) to my medicine regimen thinking it would help level out my hormones, in turn, leveling out the consistency of the adderall. Since starting the birth control, I have felt very sluggish, tired, non-motivated. I've tried 4 doses of adderall after taking a week off from it, and nothing. I just feel so frustrated with the whole process. I really thought the birth control would help to level me out so I wouldn't have such highs and lows with the adderall. I've done a lot of research, read a ton of forums, and I feel that I am at such a loss. I don't know what to do. They probably think I am crazy but I know for a fact that my hormones play a role in the effectiveness of the adderall. My doctor would like me to continue taking the birth control for another 3 months. I can't go much longer like this. I will never make it through the upcoming semester, not to mention I have 4 children and a household to run. Any advice, suggestions, or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-11-17, 12:25 AM
hla8302 hla8302 is offline
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Re: Birth control & adderall--HELP!

This is such an interesting question to me! First of all, congratulations on being a nursing student AND mother of 4 children at the same time. I want to relate to you and give you my understanding of this as best I can.

I got my BSN at the age of 32. I started taking medications for ADHD a couple of years before I graduated. I have been on birth control since I was 14 for terrible cramps. At 23, I wanted to get pregnant and found that being off birth control was extremely painful. I had my first laparoscopic procedure for a cyst on my ovary that was approximately the size of an orange. That surgery provided me a diagnosis of endometriosis. I was told, at the age of 23, that I would require in vitro fertilization to get pregnant. I was a graduate student and my husband was quite a mess.

Move forward to my late 20's, a divorce and 4 more surgeries for endometriosis. It was determined at that time that I needed to take birth control without ever taking the last week (placebo) to prevent me from having a period. This was started with a reproductive endocrinologist. I have done this since that time. I was also diagnosed with ADHD when I was 30, after a lifetime of difficulty concentrating, impulsivity and needing help to treat my impulsivity. I have taken Adderrall XR 30mg, but it made me anxious so I started 1mg of Ativan 3x/day. A move to another city got me on Vyvanse 50mg because it was "smoother", as in, there was a very evident start and stop to Adderrall XR, but not Vyvanse. I'm in agreement with this. Vyvanse does not cause any of the anxiety Adderrall caused.

Today, nearly 15 years after starting continuous birth control, I am taking Vyvanse 70mg and an early morning dose of 30mg Adderrall IR and an afternoon (around 2pm) 15mg Adderrall IR. These doses of Adderrall are called boosters.

So what I'm trying to say is that with a continuous dose of birth control, I have virtually no changes in how I respond to stimulant medications and I've had time to get to the right doses for me. Have you spoken with your physician about even one of the birth control pills that you take for three months and then have a period? I'm actually in favor of no period because of my personal history, but you may not want to do that. It is accepted, though, that there is no need for women to have a period even 4x/year.

With that, I would also suggest an extended release stimulant, Adderrall or Vyvanse. Vyvanse is also known to have a slight effect on norepinephrine re-uptake, helping to relieve depression slightly. I would honestly never take an instant release stimulant alone because it just doesn't work for me. On days when I've wanted to take less medication, I've tried this and I could sleep the whole day. Since you are finding that you are sluggish and unmotivated, don't give up. Finishing nursing school will be the biggest next chapter of your life. Work with your doctors to get your medications fine-tuned. I think your intuition about your hormones affecting your response to stimulants is significant. Go with your gut, but remember that the treatment options for ADHD are diverse and don't give up!
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Old 05-11-17, 10:38 AM
Helloiamdani Helloiamdani is offline
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Re: Birth control & adderall--HELP!

It really sucks being a woman sometimes. I have Mirena but I just got my ADHD diagnosis and just started Adderall two weeks ago, so I don't have any anecdotes regarding personal experience to provide, but I know it's normal for medicines to change in efficacy in relationship to a woman's menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, it will take a couple months for your body to regulate. Is your doctor opposed to altering your ADHD medicines? I'm really interested in learning more about how our hormones interact with ADHD and the medications for it, so I hope you get some more replies.
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Old 05-11-17, 10:40 AM
Helloiamdani Helloiamdani is offline
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Re: Birth control & adderall--HELP!

By the way, I'm a 31-year-old mom of 4 with similar responsibilities. The struggle is REAL.
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Old 05-11-17, 03:37 PM
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Re: Birth control & adderall--HELP!

hla8302,
I am so sorry to hear about your past health issues. There are so many benefits to being a woman, and so many downfalls all at the same time.
We didn't speak on that. I see my psych doctor tomorrow. I haven't seen her in a couple of weeks. I am very curious to see what she says about it all. I really thought I was crazy. Other women that I am in college with that are taking the same medicine have never had this issue. My luck I would be the one in million that it happens to. I haven't been able to give the vyvanse a good shot. Between ovulation, period, and now this issue with birth control, I didn't want to take it because I knew it would be a waste. I hear many people say they take the vyvanse with adderall boosters. I don't know if maybe that is a route she would want to go. At this point, I would like to just quit the birth control. My tubes are tied so I don't NEED it. I was just trying to find something to help with this cystic acne I keep fighting with. My summer semester is just a couple of weeks away and really can't afford to go another 2 1/2 months of my meds not working because of this birth control. I have never tried the Adderall XR. I have had a lot of success with the adderall. I'm not wondering if there isn't some kind of over the counter estrogen supplement I can take during my ovulation/cycle period? I will hopefully have a good update tomorrow.

helloiamdani,
just google hormones and adderall. That's what I did and the amount of forums and discussions and research I found was amazing.
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Old 05-16-17, 05:53 AM
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Re: Birth control & adderall--HELP!

Quote:
They probably think I am crazy but I know for a fact that my hormones play a role in the effectiveness of the adderall.
Most people who would say you are crazy are either male or they do not understand the importance of female hormones and how they effect every single thing in our lives.
I have other issues with hormones due to tumors on my adrenal glands but the same types of hormone issues happen with regard to estrogen, cortisol, adrenaline, etc. I become so ill and exhausted with my period and i too feel like I shouldn't even bother taking my adderall. Most obgyn doctors don't even understand the way stimulants and hormones work together and because they cant look it up in their database for an easy answer they assume it is us-our problem. That's one of the pitfalls of being women and dealing with healthcare. If we have an issue its always hormones, and hysterical women feelings-except when it IS actually hormones; then we are crazy and dont know our bodies well enough.
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