Use of Stimulants in ADHD

January 25, 2019

A reader asked about abnormal reactions to stimulants like Vyvanse, and whether having abnormal reactions indicate that the child has bipolar disorder.



I'm not allowed to comment on individual patients or give individual treatment recommendations on this blog.  In the general case, it is not unusual for children with inattention/hyperactivity to respond with agitation or disinhibition when they are given stimulant medications.  A proportion of kids who take stimulants react this way, regardless of whether they have bipolar disorder.  A full diagnostic workup with a board certified child psychiatrist or psychologist is usually needed to rule out bipolar disorder.  Also, there are medications for ADHD that are not stimulants (an example is Straterra) so it's a good idea to discuss those with the physician.