- What are stimulants?
- What are examples and types of stimulants used for ADHD in the US?
- What are the side effects of stimulants used for treating ADHD?
- What drugs interact with stimulants used for ADHD?
- What formulations of stimulants for ADHD are available?
- What about taking stimulants during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
What are stimulants?
Stimulants are medications or other compounds (including caffeine, cocaine and nicotine) that stimulate the central nervous system (CNS) in most individuals. Stimulants can be addictive and often are abused. Stimulants have similar effects as amphetamine. They stimulate the brain by increasing the level and effect of the natural neurotransmitters, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain (neurotransmitters are chemicals produced by nerves that are released and attach to other nearby nerves as a means of communication among nerves).
The effects of stimulants on the body may include
- increased attention,
- alertness, and
- energy in many people without ADHD.
In people with ADHD, stimulants produce a paradoxical calming effect. This results in a reduction in hyperactivity and an improvement in attention span in many patients. Apart from form their effects on the brain they also increase blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose, and open up breathing airways. Their exact mechanism of action in treating ADHD is unknown. This article will focus on those stimulants used to treat ADHD.
What are the medical uses for stimulants?
Approved medical uses for stimulants include
- attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
- narcolepsy, and
- treatment resistant depression.
- Some formulations are used for treating obesity.
Because of their addictive potential some stimulants are no longer recommended for treating asthma and other nervous system disorders.
What are examples, types, and names of stimulants used to treat ADHD?
Methylphenidate and or amphetamine derivatives are the two types of stimulants (phenethylamine and piperidine classes) used for treating ADHD. Medications used for treating ADHD are available only by prescription. There are no OTC (over-the-counter) stimulants approved for treating ADHD. The following is a list of many brand and generic names of stimulants used for treating ADHD in children and adults:
- Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine)
- Adderall XR (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine)
- Adzenys XR-ODT (amphetamine)
- Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)
- Zenzedi (dextroamphetamine)
- Dyanavel XR (amphetamine)
- Evekeo (amphetamine)
- Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)
- Desoxyn (methamphetamine)
- ProCentra (dextroamphetamine)
- Aptensio XR (methyphenidate)
- Ritalin (methylphenidate)
- Ritalin SR (methylphenidate)
- Ritalin LA (methylphenidate)
- Concerta (methylphenidate)
- Daytrana (methylphenidate)
- Metadate (methylphenidate)
- Metadate CD (methylphenidate)
- Metadate ER (methylphenidate)
- Methylin (methylphenidate)
- Quillivant XR (methylphenidate)
- QuilliChew ER (methylphenidate)
- Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
- Focalin XR (dexmethylphenidate)
What are the side effects of stimulants used for treating ADHD?
Common side effects of stimulants used for ADHD management include:
Other side effects of stimulants medications for ADHD include:
- Dry mouth
- Emotional irritability
Serious side effects of stimulants used for treating ADHD include:
- Serious allergic reactions
- Stevens-Johnson syndrome
- Toxic epidermal necrolysis
- Psychotic episodes
- Prolonged erections
Quick GuideADHD/ADD in Adults: Symptoms & Treatments in Pictures
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