27 answers

What is your experience with Concerta on children?

Hello, my 6 yr old has just been perscribed concerta for what we think is a mild form of ADD (the pediatrician recommended leaving it another year before serious testing be done) Does anyone have any experience with Concerta? Thanks, I would really appreciate any feed back.

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Summary

Concerta on children, some children had mood swings on Concerta and was changed to Strattera. A lot of kids do fine on Concerta, though. Just make sure your doctor is competent in this area of medicine, and report any problems immediately. If you are dealing with a pediatrician, I would suggest that you find a psychiatrist who specializes in dealing with add in young kids.

So What Happened?™

Hi Everyone,
first of all I have to say thanks for all your imput. I realized I had neglected some information... my son has been tested my LAUSD and falls "within their range" of not needing help (scoring benchmark or above on tests) yes so they are unwilling to take this further. All 4 teachers we have been through have all noticed a focusing problem within 2 days of having our son in their class so after answering a lot of questions at our doctors office (myself and the teacher) we decided to give concerta a try. All your feedback has really helped and I am now on the look out for any side effects and problems this may cause. Thanks again!

Featured Answers

I've had very good response with children diagnosed with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder, and several of my colleagues have dealt successfully with ADD. www.AllergiCare-OC.com

Before medicating my child, I would want to have a psychologist perform a psychoeducational assessment to evaluate for ADHD as well as learning disorders. (These two disorders often go hand in hand.) Psychologists are not only highly trained in diagnosing learning disorders and ADHD, but are also highly training in examining other potential reasons why children might be exhibiting ADHD-like behaviors, including emotional or environmental factors that might be contributing.

My daugther took Concerta for ADD, starting when she was 8 years old. It had IMMEDIATE results with her focus. The side affects were: loss of appetite, and at times difficulty falling asleep at night. It was well worth the side affects for her increase in ability to focus on all aspects of her life. After 2 years, we switched to Adderall because she was having significant trouble falling asleep (up until 2am!). Her doctor said that as kids get older, they metabolize drugs differently, and as they approach puberty they metabolize drugs differently, so her doctor wasn't suprised that a change in meds was needed. Good luck to you.

More Answers

Hi L.!

I've seen other parents suggest further testing but the truth is that there is NO appropriate testing for psychiatric drugs of any kind. The "tests" are forms of observation. Would you take a drug after you were observed to have cancer or diabetes, etc.? No, you need blood tests, xrays, MRIs, etc. Yet there is no physical testing for ADD/ADHD. The reason is that drugs are not the answer. They may temporarily help but they come with a host of side effects - many told by the other Mommies on this board - and they don't actually handle the CAUSE of why a child won't sit still and pay attention. The body doesn't have a "Concerta deficiency". Some other Mommies have suggested nutritional handlings which I think are excellent. You may also want to make sure that the education is appropriate to your child. You may be sending him to an excellent school but maybe he needs to learn differently or needs some minor adjustment in the way he learns. I wish you the best of luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.;
I don't have experience with Concerta, but have learned that resolving certain nutrition and digestion problems can relieve ADD symptoms. There are homeopathic remedies as well. As a Wellness Consultant I recommend Lactoferrin Gold, Jade Greenzymes and our Immunity Complex - all of which my 7 year old takes and is very healthy.
Best wishes for you and your family,
S.

1 mom found this helpful

Although you have been warned to NOT pay attention to the food dyes and toxins I would suggest you test it out for yourself and your son. I am the kind of mom that felt anything in moderation but after getting a diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) which has a lot of commonality with ADHD. The occupation therapist said that some kids react well with taking out Red Dyes, especially Red Dye 40. I tried the Dye-free Benadryl with him and he slept for the first time instead of getting extra hyper. That sealed it in my mind and I have diligently kept him from red dye 40. He had surgery and they gave him a dose of Tylenol with Codeine and his reaction went from sleepy child to a wild child. The nurse asked what happened. I researched it and found that it contains red dye 33. The difference is quite obvious. Research and see what can be affecting him neurologically for yourself and make the best mama decision for you and your son. I already know you are a great mama cuz you are asking here!
P.

1 mom found this helpful

Concerta is time-released Ritalin and has many side effects
Try to find out what are causing his symptoms. Could he have high levels of lead or mercury? Are you feeding him food that has artificial coloring? My twins had ADHD growing up and
I healed them naturally.
D. Merlin
Mother/author
www.victoryoveradhd.com

1 mom found this helpful

L.,

I agree with Sherry A. Please do some further testing before starting meds. Also, make sure your child is eating good foods. No processed foods, No juices or foods that contain HFCS or MSG, No sugary cereals, etc. Also, many cleaning products contain chemicals that can have an affect on the central nervous system, especially small children who are more susceptible, causing behavioral problems.

T.
www.sharethecause.com/T.

1 mom found this helpful

L.,

Ouch! Not a good thing for a little one to have over him already. I know nothing about Concerta, but I do know that there is a direct link between your environment, and the toxins in it, and problems like ADD. Did you know that the bleach and ammonia leak poisonous fumes into your environment. Even little things like toothpaste contains formaldehyde!

Melaleuca, the Wellness Company, sells products that are 100% free of these toxins. Using our products may not completely heal your son, but it surely will not hurt him and your other boys to be in a safer, toxic free environment. For more information, and to become a member, check out my website:

http://www.BringingWellnessHome.com/Angel

Best of luck with your son. I hope he, and your other sons, manage to escape the possible side-effects of ADD.

A.
Working at Home to Live a Healthy Life
http://www.WomensDreamTeam.com/Angel

1 mom found this helpful

L., I was wondering have you ever thought about researching homeopathic and natural remedies for your son instead of medicating him? Sugar, dyes, different food combinations and even toxins (in the environment and home) can truly make a difference in a child's behavior. But, please also remember that kids are ALIVE and have feelings and spirit and do not deserve to be labeled or medicated. I definitely know from personal experience psych medications do more harm than good and that, in fact, there are many natural solutions that can actually help with what your son is going through.

Please call the CITIZENS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (CCHR). Their # is: (323) 467~4242. And, here's their website: http://www.cchr.org/. They can definitely help you!

I also highly recommend contacting Dr. Anita Pepi who is truly an amazing Chiropractor and Nutritionist and would definitely be able to help your son naturally.

Here's her data:

2950 Los Feliz Blvd. Suite 101
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 666~1088
http://www.drpepi.com

If she is too far for you, please let me know as I may know of an incredible nutritionist that is closer to you.

In addition, I suggest taking your son to H.E.L.P. (The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project) located here in Hollywood. It is a free program, and what is amazing is that I've seen kids come into this program who have been labeled ADD/ ADHD and by learning the study technology they offer and getting their diet in order, magically their ADD/ ADHD symptoms disappear. REALLY! You can definitely call H.E.L.P. for a free tour.

Here's their data:

Hollywood Education Literacy Project International
6336 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood CA 90028
###-###-####
http://www.helplearn.org/index-flash.html

Ask for Amanda or Ann. They definitely will be able to help you and your son!

I'd also recommend checking out 5 organizations validating why going the natural route is best for you and your son:
http://ablechild.org/
http://www.cchr.org/
http://www.fightforkids.org/
http://www.psychsearch.net/teenscreen.html
http://www.labelmesane.com/

You'll also find some amazing data regarding alternatives at: http://www.cchr.org/solutions_and_alternatives/

And, L., please watch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Xjx0gdL83I
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRJN_NfyiH4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgMovNmtRF0&feature=user
http://www.psychconflicts.org/
http://www.cchr.org/#/videos

AND

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73SRn1gdAdM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcvCtxaiOGg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58UZqr3fiZ

Please free to contact me at: (323) 906~2784 or via e~mail me at ____@____.com.

I'd love to help you and your son however I can.

With love,
L. (MAMA to 13 month old Dylan Orion.......29 September 2007) : )))

1 mom found this helpful

Hi L.,

I'm a teacher with over 20 years of experience, the last 8 in a special needs school where 90% of the students have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. All medications used to lessen the effects of ADD/ADHD have side effects. Difference medications and different doses work for different kids. Your son should be closely monitored while on any medication to make sure he's on the optimal dose-lowest possible medication for best output. I have seen Concerta work beautifully for some kids and be a nightmare for others.

However, I'm wondering why your pediatrician doesn't want an evaluation. At our school we won't take children on a pediatrician recommendation only. They have to have had a full evaluation and must be working with a psychiatrist or neurologist to be considered. The reason for this is pediatricians make their diagnoses of ADD/ADHD based on parental and teacher feedback. Other things could be causing the behaviors you and his teachers are seeing-diet, sleep habits, age and gender, being bored or overwhelmed at school... Before I would medicate my child with a drug, I would want as much information as possible. An evaluation is non-evasive.

I realize I'm not answering your question but I feel, based on my experience as a mother and a teacher with many years of working with ADD/ADHD students, that you should try other methods of "taming" your son's behavior before Concerta. And I would never medicate on the sole recommendation of my pediatrician.

Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

L.,

Without doing all the testing to determine if in fact your child has ADD, don't put him on meds. I have a son, now 10, who we started medicating at 4 1/2 after extensive testing. He couldn't color on a paper with a crayon at 4 years old. Once we started the meds, within six weeks he was writing his name. I have no doubt we did the right thing for him. However, we didn't do it until he'd had all the testing. I believe the meds are of value, but do your homework first and make sure he needs them.

Concerta is a stimulant drug, we've used it and other stimulants. They work well, but can have side effects like anger issues. We took our son off Concerta when the anger issues became more than what his normally sweet personality usually manifested.

I will tell you of another issues we had, not to put the fear of meds into you, but to make you aware. For over a year our son was on a combination of Concerta and Straterra. I won't go into the reasoning behind it, only to say that it worked great. At the age of 6 1/2 our son had a massive stroke and lost his entire right side, his ability to talk, his balance and a list of other things. The only thing the neuro team could come up with is that the combination of those two meds was the most likely factor in causing the stroke. We've taken him off the stimulant meds and just left him on Straterra.

This doesn't mean everyone should run out and pull their kids off Concerta, our son was the forth reported case of stroke while on the combination of Straterra and Concerta. I may never happen again to another child, there is no way to know.

I think I've maybe gone a bit overboard on the whole meds thing, but my bottom line suggestion is no meds until you've done the testing. I'm not sure why a doctor would even prescribe meds without doing the rounds of testing and the paperwork provided by parents and teachers. It's a vital part of figuring out whether or not your child actually has ADD or if he's just being a boy.

Best of luck to you. Don't let anyone tell you that you are chosing the easy way out when you medicate. You wouldn't deny him meds if he was diabetic, why is this disorder any different.

God Bless! G.

1 mom found this helpful

Before medicating my child, I would want to have a psychologist perform a psychoeducational assessment to evaluate for ADHD as well as learning disorders. (These two disorders often go hand in hand.) Psychologists are not only highly trained in diagnosing learning disorders and ADHD, but are also highly training in examining other potential reasons why children might be exhibiting ADHD-like behaviors, including emotional or environmental factors that might be contributing.

Hi L.,

I'm 28, and was diagnosed with ADD (not ADHD) in sixth grade. I've taken Concerta in the past and liked it a lot. Although I don't notice too much of a difference myself (unless I measure what I got done that day) my family says that it makes a HUGE difference. As another parent said, it might be a good idea to have an "off" day on the weekends; I only needed the meds when focus was important, mostly during the week at school.

One more thing ... be careful about the advice you may hear about eliminating food coloring and/or toxins...I am very much into the all-natural, organic diets but at the same time I realize that it's not the answer to everything. If your son really does have ADD, it can't be "cured" by healthy living. (Although that would be great, and the idea is seductive). It's just part of who he is, and thankfully the more difficult symptoms can be managed with medication. Again, assuming he does have this, without the meds he'll try every day to "be good," pay attention, and get his homework/chores done, but it's a battle he'll lose every time. Sorry to get on the soapbox, just wanted to give you the perspective of someone who grew up with this condition.

Take care,

R.

Hi L.,

My son was 12 when he was put on Concerta. We noticed a big difference in a matter of just two doses. It didn't work forever however. His medications were switched when his diagnosis was changed. I would suggest getting several evaluations before settling with a diagnosis given by one doctor. Best wishes.

I' not familiar w/ Concerta. My 6 yr old was officially diagnosed w/ ADHD and takes Focalin XR. It works well for her. She is so proud of herself because she can now read, where as before she couldn't pay attention long enough for 1 word and now she can read 1st grade books. I am a bit concerned about a DR that just prescribes meds w/o a formal diagnosis. The pediatrician is not necessarily the best person to make a formal diagnosis of ADHD. 6 yrs is not to young for formal testing. If he is not ADHD, then giving Concerta is like giving him Speed!

If your hunch is correct, you should see improved concentration by the first or second dose. However, there are many different medications and not everyone works for every kid. Also some kids need a stronger dose. We just got lucky w/ Focalin on our first try.

You might feel more comfortable working w/ a child psychiatrist or someone who deals with ADHD on a daily basis. Most pediatricians are busy w/ other things.

Hello L.,
My son has been formally diagnosed with "innattentive ADHD" (formerly called ADD). He is now 9 1/2 yr old 4th grader. About 4 months ago we started the lowest dose Concerta, he had a decreased appetite initially and trouble sleeping, but just for a couple days...those side effects went away. However the dose was inneffective and he went up to the next strength....that worked. But it worked with an expense: a chronic low grade headache and a facial tic that developed after just 2 1/2 months. The facial tic became so bad and bothersome to my son that he would cry and beg to stop the meds....we did about 2 1/2 weeks ago. He feels wonderful now, the tic is almost totally gone and he's doing okay in school so far. The doctor gave us the option to use Strattera (a non-stimulant), but we will wait and see if he backslides in school 1st. We would never had chosen to medicate, but he was having so much trouble staying on task in school (for the last 2 years) that he was falling behind and below grade level academically. He knows he does stay on task better w/ the meds, but is willing to do whatever it takes to stay off them. My advice to you would be to insist on proper testing to formally diagnose your son. Is his behavior effecting his learning or social/family life bad enough to warrant medicating? If he is properly diagnosed, his school MUST provide accomodations to help your son learn (ie. preferential seating close to teacher, quieter environment for tests...etc). Bear in mind that very often "ADD" goes along with Learning Disabilities so you may want the school district to formally test your son to rule this out. Lastly, if you decide to try a stimulant, insist on a baseline EKG of your son's heart to make sure it is normal and healthy and can tolerate stimulants before you begin them...and do your research. Familiarize yourself with the side effects and dangers of the stimulant so that you are well informed and make sure your school knows when/if he starts them.

Best of luck to you and your boy.

Do not rely on your pediatrician to make an add diagnosis. Talk to a neurologist and a phd educational psychologist and get the full battery of tests done. Don't wait another year and do the testing off medication so you get an accurate portrayal of your son. I cannot stress the importance of talking to experts in the field.

Get 2nd and 3er opinion....i know i would..

I've had very good response with children diagnosed with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder, and several of my colleagues have dealt successfully with ADD. www.AllergiCare-OC.com

For my son, Concerta was the key that unlocked the door. Hehas had a full evaluation and tried many medications, and I have tried herbal or homeopathic routes too. After about 3 years we tried Concerta and it was AMAZING the results we saw in days...

A few things to concider and keep in mind when using Concerta. First, it IS an appatite suppresant. It was first used as a diet pill! So I closely monitor my son's eating and weight. This medication is NOT one that builds up in the blood to achieve it's results (unlike many of the others on the market) so by giving the medication early (no latter than 7 am in our case), my son grows hungry in the evenings when the medication has worn off. I always make sure that I have high protien snacks for his to inhale at night we he's hungry. And I make sure that I am stearing him towards healthy choices during the day. Kids with little to no appetite can't afford empty calories.. they need the nutrition!

Secondly, a major side effect is insomnia. We counteract this by giving hte medication early. On school days we wake him up and give him the medication by 615 am..... then he goes back to sleep for a little bit. On weekends or holidays I amke sure he has taken it by 7 am.... if we miss that mark he is up half the night unable to sleep! If I mess up on the timing then i have to decide which I can handle better... a hyper unfocused kid, or a kido up half the night... depending on our days agenda I decide what is best for aour family.

Also, on holidays or weekends we will take a "meds break" for one day to get him to eat lots and make sure that we are still seeing the behaviors that he was first put on the medication for. Our Doctors have assured us that wiht this medication that is perfectly safe to do!

I don't want you to look at thia and say :Is it worth all of that?".... For us the answer is YES!!! I didn't tell his teacher when we started this on purpose, I wanted to see her reaction without the knowlegde... onthe second day of the medication she called me. She was SO EXCITED about how well he was focusing and learning! My son improved two grade levels in 6 months at school with the asssitance of Concerta! And he is able to engage in conversation and listen to books be read to him... all things that his little mind wouldn't stop long enough to do before....

Best of luck with your son. ANd if you ever want to talk feel free to email me :)

My then 6 year old was on Concerta for about 6 mo. It worked very well, but it does affect their sleep and diet.She started looking waifish. We also noticed on my daughter that she was real irritable when the meds started to wear off and as we progressed to higher doses. We took her off for the summer and then tried FocalinXR, so far so good. The side affects of this that I noticed is it takes longer to take affect and wears off sooner. Which I am fine with. We are able to get through school without the drama. There is no side affects on sleep and eating. Try the Concerta, my friends have kids on it and they love it. But if it doesnot work for you, ask to try something else. Be sure to tell the doctor what you didnot like and what you so he/she can give you something that may work for you.
Good luck
K. E

Before you put him on medication and just assume he has ADD, I would tell you to get him a full work up of psychoneurological testing. If you can't get it done through your school, then I would say find someone. I know it's expensive but from my experience, I wish I had known what I know now. I also had my son diagnosed with a mild form of ADD when he was in first grade. They only performed enough tests to confirm that he was ADD. We'd had him on medication, and then in sixth grade, he just started floundering in school. Long story short, we had the full work up done, and it turns out, that while yes, he has ADD, it is secondary to his nonverbal learning disability. Had I known about that, it would have explained a lot, and we could have dealt with it earlier. We might not have even kept him on medication so long. So my advice is, even though it is expensive, it's better to know what you're dealing with early rather than later.

Your public school should have a diagnostician who can help with the evaluation.

My son, now 19, has been on Concerta for several years. His ped prescribed several different ones before finding one that worked for my son. This process started when he was 7. It takes a long time sometimes to find the right one.

Be aware that when hormones start to kick in (around 11 or 12) the medication he is on may no longer work with those internal chemical changes!

6 years is pretty young to get an ADD diagnosis!! Lots of normal kids have trouble concentrating at that age and grow out of it! Why on earth would he put off testing?? This doesn't seem right. Did you know that you have a legal right to have your child fully tested at school district expense? Just write a letter to whoever at your school district is head of special education, and formally assessed that he be assessed for an IEP (Individualized Education Program.)We had our daughter tested at 5 years, but were able to postpone use of medicine until high school. We worked carefully with our daughter's teachers. A lot of teachers don't have the dedication and patience to do this, but if your kid is diagnosed by the district and an IEP is in place they won't have any choice. Look into "behavioral methods" of dealing with add, such as reward systems. It was a lot of work, but it helped our daughter a lot.

Sometimes teachers and doctors are quick to insist on meds because it is the easiest way to fix the problem. That is not always in the best interest of the child.

Our daughter had mood swings on Concerta and was changed to Strattera, which has worked well. A lot of kids do fine on Concerta, though. Just make sure your doctor is competent in this area of medicine, and report any problems immediately. If you are dealing with a pediatrician, I would suggest that you find a psychiatrist who specializes in dealing with add in young kids.

Good Luck!

Why would you give a child a drug for an unknown condition? First of all, get your school district to test the child. Be sure that your child does not have a vision or hearing impairment. Then get him tested by a child psychologist who specializes in diagnosing learning disabilities. THEN once you have all the information, you have an IEP meeting with the experts and discuss a course of treatment that might include special education, speech and language therapy, tutors, longer testing times, isolation so that he won't be distracted. There is even biofeedback. There are a whole host of techniques for dealing with ADD besides drugs. My son refused drugs (Do you think the schools might have overdone the antidrug message?). For him, music therapy turned out to be the best way for him to concentrate. You just have to find the right one for your child. And make sure he really does have ADD. My school district misdiagnosed by son because he first had a hearing loss and he had ADD and high functioning autism on TOP of the hearing problem. Talk about a triple whammy. Today my son is in college. He still refuses drugs, even though a psychologist suggested that it might be useful. He still uses music to relax him and prepare his mind for studying. For him it is like meditation. Good luck out there and be prepared for a battle. By the way, schools are much more likely to think drugs are good for boys over girls, sometimes even when their behavior is normal. Boys are just more active, disruptive, and less socially acceptable, especially in the early school years. Please let us know how it goes.

L.,

Here's a link to more information about the Drug.
http://www.drugguide.com/ddo/ub/view/Davis-Drug-Guide/514...

Hi L.-

The first medicine that we tried my daughter on was Concerta, and it didn't work for her. It changed her personality aand she stoppped eating. There is a boy in my son's class that is on Concerta and it works great for him, without any side effects, so my suggestion is just to monitor your son closer then ever and remember to follow your instincts.

Good Luck!

My daugther took Concerta for ADD, starting when she was 8 years old. It had IMMEDIATE results with her focus. The side affects were: loss of appetite, and at times difficulty falling asleep at night. It was well worth the side affects for her increase in ability to focus on all aspects of her life. After 2 years, we switched to Adderall because she was having significant trouble falling asleep (up until 2am!). Her doctor said that as kids get older, they metabolize drugs differently, and as they approach puberty they metabolize drugs differently, so her doctor wasn't suprised that a change in meds was needed. Good luck to you.

First of all, I don't think it's appropriate to prescribe medication if serious testing has not been done. Would you take heart medicine without being sure you have a heart problem?
Secondly, if it's mild, he may not need medication at all.
Third, if he does need meds, Concerta is good.
My son was diagnosed at about 6 - with an extreme case. We tried everything and finally gave in and did the meds. We tried ALL of the meds with different results - insomnia, lethargy, lack of appetite, hypersensitive, overly emotional, upset stomach, headache, etc. We finally ended up on Concerta - it works great with no side effects.
Good luck and God bless!

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