A new analysis of prior research suggests that drugs for ADHD may interfere with sleep.

Stimulant medication prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be a cause of sleep problems in children with ADHD.  An analysis of nine previous studies involving 246 children and teens examining the relationship between medications and sleep indicated that children on medications took longer to fall asleep, slept for shorter periods of time, and did not sleep as well overall as did children with ADHD who were not taking those medications.


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“Sleep was worse in every analysis that we did,” said study author Katherine M. Kidwell, a psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Nebraska.

Stimulant medications are the most common type of drug prescribed for treatment of children with ADHD, a disorder that appears in approximately 7 percent of children and adolescents.

“Children with ADHD tend to have terrible sleep already,” said Kidwell. “And then, when they are on stimulant medications, their sleep just gets even worse.”

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