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Question: What are the cons of Ritilan? My child was prescribed this drug 2 years ago and I'm worried about side effects. He only takes the drug during the school year. Is it okay to start and stop this medication?
DR.PAUL: Ritalin, or methylphenidate, is an oral medication that has been proven to help children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Firstly, let me preface my answer by saying that once the diagnosis of ADHD has been made generally in children over 7-8 years of age, there are three parts to the treatment program. One is academic (school based extra help etc), behavioural modification by parents and thirdly, medication. In order for medication to work it, must be given with the other 2 treatment modalities in place. The rare side effects of Ritalin include poor appetite, and perhaps improper growth. Rarer side effects are making tics(pre-existing). In the past, Ritalin was given at higher dosages and this resulted in stunting of growth and that is why we would stop it over the summer vacation. Today, most children grow well even if they are on it year round. The medication can be given on a on and off basis, but this depends on the individual situation. Some parents say they need to give it all the time and others say that they give it monthly on school days. This again depends on the individual situation. This is why a close rapport with your physician is recommended to keep track of growth and the need to give it all the time or on and off.
Pediatrician DR.PAUL Roumeliotis is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The information provided above is designed to be an educational aid only. It is not intended to replace the advice and care of your child's physician, nor is it intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you suspect that your child has a medical condition always consult a physician.
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