How to help a 12 year old boy on Concerta gain weight

Deborah - posted on 12/02/2010 ( 28 moms have responded )

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Hi,

I was alarmed to learn yesterday from his psychiatrist that my 12 year old boy who has been on Concerta for a year has LOST 6 pounds in that time. He is very thin.

We see his pediatrician in 2 weeks and in the meantime, I am looking for ways to get past his lack of appetite.

Any ideas?

Thanks! Debbie

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Phyllis - posted on 12/02/2010

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My son is 7 and on Concerta and has been for 3 years. We give him his meds at breakfast and get as much food in as we can before they kick in. Light lunch for school, small snack after. Medium sized supper as the meds start winding down. Huge bedtime 'snack'. Supper I serve in courses (veggies cold on the table while I make the main dishes) that way I can feed him the most important stuff first. Bedtime is usually cereal with toast and a granola bar followed up with a banana or apple slices. He is always up at least once in the night "starving" and I let him have a slice of bread and butter or something, then make him rinse his mouth. At breakfast and afternoon snack I give him meal replacement shakes along with his food. Boost, Ensure and pediasure are good. Even Carnation instant breakfasts. I always have precut veggies in the fridge for when he is feeling hungry. Homemade smoothies are great between meals as well, since you can put protein powders or Benefibre in with the fruit, yogurt and whatever else. I also have a 'breakfast cookie' recipe that I make that is a meal in a cookie. 200 calories per cookie, made with all sorts of nutritious stuff. So far my son is gaining and growing, but it is fairly slow. He's not losing and he's healthy, so I'm happy with it. Good luck!

Angela - posted on 06/26/2011

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My son is also very thin. I allow him to eat before bed. his meds wear off at about 730pm and he can have a bowl of cereal or fruit and milk before bed. also i give him whole milk instead of the low fat because he needs the calories. This has kept him from loosing weight. good luck

Linda - posted on 12/08/2010

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I would suggest switching meds. My son was on Adderall for several years and wore the same size clothing for 3 years at a time. Never passed the 73 pound mark. He was even on Ceoncerta for about 6 months then we found Vyvanse. Much Much better!!! He has an appetite, has gained weight and doesn't look like skin and bones (aka anorexic) anymore. He finally looks healthy and these meds really work well. It's formulated to absorb more thoroughly and wears off slower. It's been a blessing! I think it's worth talking to his doctor about.

Catherine - posted on 12/08/2010

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I had the same problem with my daughter when she was 8 or 9. So thin! Then she came off meds for a couple of terrible years and gained over 20lbs in 2 weeks. The meds don't seem to prevent long term weight gain, just hold it back. At least that is how it happened for her. Now she is back on Concerta as a teenager and it does not seem to be having the same effect on her. I would suggest that during the summer break (if the rest of the family can tolerate it...) take him off meds and let his body catch up. Good luck!

MaryAnn - posted on 12/08/2010

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My son is 9 yrs. old and started taking meds 2 yrs. ago for add. Lunch is usually the worst for him but he will eat Peanut Butter with apples, bananas, and celery. I usually give him protein shakes as well. Muscle Milk powder mixed with 2 scoops of ice cream and 1 cup of milk. He loves it... you can find it at a GNC store. Good luck to you... its definately a challenge.,

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Deborah - posted on 09/18/2012

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Thank you to everyone who responded with such helpful ideas and common stories. After slow progress for two years (but without any more weight loss), my son seems to now be in a growth spurt. He is growing out of all of his clothes. The key for us has been to make sure he eats something healthy when he is not hungry and to go with his appetite when he is. This has meant the he gets many more calories from mid afternoon through the evening than earlier in the day.



Thanks!

Debbie

Steph - posted on 06/07/2012

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My son has been on Concerta for about 2 years now. We have battled to keep weight on him the entire time. He's natually thin but now he is loosing weight, which bothers me. He has lost 4 lbs in 6 weeks! I know playing sports doesn't help but he loves them. I would love ideas to help increase his appetite because at this point every meal is a battle.

Thanks!
Stephanie

Alice - posted on 07/04/2011

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I started my family on To Your Health Liquid vitamins back in April. Other than just being very good vitamins I have notice several positive attributes. I appreciate what they are doing for my family so much I have actually started selling them.

The Dr. that helped design them is a Psychiatrist and he designed them in mind to help people with depression. He himself also has ADHD and has had much success weening people off their ADHD medications with these vitamins.

There are three major things that I have noticed that have been positive for our family but the biggest have to do with my son. He has been on and off ADHD medication since he was 8, he is now 16. He is currently taking Adderall. He has always had a weight issue, he is 16 5' 8" and weighs about 120 pounds.

Since Mike started taking these vitamins his appetite has improved dramatically to the point he is coming into the kitchen looking for something to eat. He tells me he is hungry and even gives me suggestions as to what to fix him. His concentration is also better and he is much more focused than he used to be. But one of the best side affects of these vitamins is that he sleeps better than he has ever slept before. He used to take Rozerem to help him get to sleep and we tried Melatonin which always made things worse for him in the morning. I now give him his vitamins between 6 and 7 PM and he can usually get to bed on his own with no aide by 10 PM. He stays asleep and get's up the next morning without too much prompting and is not overly tired.

My daughter was also having trouble getting to sleep, I give her the vitamins at the same time I give them to my son and she is usually in bed by 8:30PM and sleeps all night long.

I used to have trouble going to sleep, I too take Adderall and would be up until somewhere between 1:30AM and 3:30 AM. I take my vitamins about 7:00PM I usually go to sleep about 10:30PM and wake up with no prompting the next morning about 7:00AM.

These vitamins also can help with depression, which I too have and they have changed my life. I have not had what I would consider a serious depressive mood since I began taking them. I moments when I still get down but they don't last like they used to. Prior to taking them, I had been going through a depressive state that was going on 16 months.

Like I said, they have changed my life. If you want to give them a try you can go to www.tyh.us and order the vitamin and mineral supplement and use my Discount Code "Ally" to receive a 15% discount.

If you have any questions you can email me at ally.tyh@gmail.com , I will answer any questions you have. I can also provide most people a great discount my mailing them out directly to them. If that is a method you want to use, let me know and I might be able to save you a bit more money. I promote these vitamins because I know what they have done for my family. I do my best to provide them to my clients as inexpensively as I can.

I am thankful, my son's weight and mental stability and insomnia is no longer something I have to be concerned about.

You can also send me messages here in Circle of Mom and I will respond to anyone who has questions. Responding to the post is fine but I don't always go back and read each new post and I would hate for you to think I was ignoring anyone who has a question. You could send me a message and let me know you posted a question on this post and then I would be happy to respond here.

It is good to stay in touch with me once you purchase because not everyone responds to the recommended dosage the exact same way, and I might need to suggest you cut the dosage down just a bit.

Anyway, I know that a child not eating is a huge concern for any mom. This is one thing you can do to help with that issue. I was just amazed to discover they helped make him hungry and I love that he is eating now.

Hope this helps.

Alice Jones

Denise - posted on 06/25/2011

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Periactin or Cyproheptadine. (same drug/two names) Its an antihistamine (like benadryl) no drug interactions with Ritalin LA. My son takes Ritalin LA and Periactin, his appetite is fantastic. First day or two it will make them sleepy, and then it just makes them hungry. I know its given to children with Failure to Thrive, and also to children who have cancer and have lost their appetite. It comes in a liquid and a pill form.

Angela - posted on 12/17/2010

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Vyvanse is a stimulant, but you are correct, each medication reacts differently with each child.

Lika - posted on 12/17/2010

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Try to get him to eat/drink foods that have iron in them, such as spinach, V-8, etc. Iron helps boost appetite. And then give a starch rich diet. Foods that have a way of hitting your nose is a good way to get kids eating too, because it's too good to pass up, such as home made pasta.

Sandee - posted on 12/10/2010

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My son has been on ADHD meds since he was 8. He's now 14 and still has very little appetite and less variety. He never wanted to try new foods because he never feels hungry. I always try to get in a health breakfast...cereal, waffles, eggs or french toast and yogurt. Lunch has been peanut butter and jelly, yogurt, cheese and jello. Dinner is very limites. Around 8 or 9:00 I give him fish crackers, cheese yogurt and whetever else I can including, I'm ashamed to say, peanutbutter cups. He's about 5'5" and 105 lbs. He's slim but he's growing. Early morning and late evening are the best times to try to get the food in. Good luck!

[deleted account]

You can ask about switching meds, too, but be careful: some kids can respond to either the stimulant class (Ritalin, Concerta) or the non-stimulant class (Vyvanse) equally well, but not all. We tried my son on Vyvanse for one school year & he slowly drifted into a horrible, deep depression - I used to cry myself to sleep I was so worried about him. I finally put my foot down & insisted to the Dr. he be put back on the stimulant class & his improvement was nearly instantaneous. If you have found a medication that works well for your child, I guess personally I'd try the "weekends off" or "weekend lower dose" route first. But the beauty of trying a new medicine could be a great improvement, too. Tough call for me, just because my son had such a rough time with the different one.

Jennie - posted on 12/09/2010

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I cant get my son to gain weight either. It doesnt help that hes soooo picky either. His dr says feed him what he will eat. Hes 8 and weighs 40 pounds. He has always weighed 40 pounds. So at least my son hasnt lost any weight. I just wish he would gain some. He takes ritalin LA.

April - posted on 12/09/2010

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My son is 11 and weighs 60lbs. He gains weight but very slowly. He takes Vyvanse.

Melanie - posted on 12/09/2010

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i never experienced weight loss with my son. he is 12 and built like a line backer. he's up to 130 lbs and 5'5. but you could always try the instant breakfast drinks or like someone else suggested, protein shakes. good luck.

Ana - posted on 12/08/2010

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Remember the weight loss or the lack of gaining will affect his growth, my doctor says if he goes off meds over the summer the effects will reverse themselves

Linda - posted on 12/08/2010

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I would like to add that my son is 11 and has been on meds for ADHD for 6 years. He was on Adderall for 4 1/2 years, Concerta for 6 months and Vyvanse for the last year.

Shamey - posted on 12/08/2010

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I am not sure what it's called but your doctor should be able to tell you. My child sees his regular doctor but he also goes to a center where he gets his counseling and medicine. He goes goes in once a month and they check his weight, height, and lood pressure and they have told me that if he started lossing weight then they could put him on something to help him eat more. It's hard to say what doctor will do what in different states and sometimes you have to look for ones that deal with behavioral problems more then anything that way they are up to date with whats new. I did see in the office the other day that there is a new medicine that has no stimulates and that can help with mood and eating but I can not remember the name right off hand, sorry.

Alice - posted on 12/08/2010

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I remember this medication to be some sort of antihistamine I think; which if your child has allergies then it's just a bonus.

[deleted account]

My 11-year old has been on Metadate or Concerta since he was 4. At his 11-year check he still only weighed 48 pounds - he was a walking skeleton! We tried the summer off meds & he gained 13 pounds & grew 1.5"! We now let him have weekend/holidays off meds - fortunately, he's a happpy hyper, so we can tolerate the "crazies". I've heard from other ADHD mom posts that there is a med you can ask about that says it increases the appetite, but our Dr. has never suggested it.

Shamey - posted on 12/08/2010

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My 8 yr old takes a different type of medicine but before we start the day he has to eat then he gets his medicine. When it comes to luch I do not really push food on him but I do put extra money in his account so if there is anything there he likes and he will eat then he can buy more then one and he has been told that he has to eat something that way his head will not hurt and this makes sure he eats more (not sweets). He gets a snack when he gets home from school and he eats supper and another snack before bed. I do this ever day and he has been on this medicine for 4 yrs and not lost any weight. Sometimes you have to do smaller meals through out the day and the best thing that helps is making sure they eat before they take it in the morning. This type of medicine can make it hard for kids to eat and its not unheard of for them to loss weight and 12 pounds is really not bad at all in a years time. Have you talked to your sons docotor to see if he is worried? I know that in some cases if the child is losing to much weight they will change their medicine or give them something to help them eat more. It is also at an age where his body is changing. Boys who might weigh more may loss a lot and slim up in months and boys who are small may be come bigger in no time. My 13 yr old did in just a years time, she looks 16 and many of the boys her age look about 8 or 10 yrs old. My little boy is 8 yrs old but he is all arms and legs and he does not look 8 more 10. I hope this helps, Best of luck!!

Amy - posted on 12/08/2010

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My son is on Concerta as well. I was told by his pediatrician that weight gain is VERY difficult with this medication, so he put my son on a 6 meals/day plan. Basically, it's a big breakfast, normal lunch, big dinner, and 3 snacks in between. He's eating every 2-3 hours. We have also set up a "midnight snack" because he is hungry in the middle of the night. It's usually something small, like a piece of fruit or some snack crackers. Ever since we started him on this routine (about 9 months ago), he's gained about 8 pounds, which is great! Hopefully that gives you at least one more idea to try!

[deleted account]

The meds are usually what keeps a child from gaining weight. When I first put my son on meds he lost over 12 lbs in 2 weeks.Since then(hes 17) he has gained it REALLY slowly and that kid can eat.some medicines though can make the kids not want to eat it kills their appetite(my nephew is like this.As for giving a kid raw egg(someone else posted that) that is dangerous you do know you can get salmonella from raw egg right? I just recommend making sure your child eats a healthy diet and make sure he gets all the calories he needs(you can look it up online) as long as he is healthy I wouldn't worry.

Alice - posted on 12/08/2010

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This is a tough one, my son had the same problem for years. He usually has a bowl of ice cream before bed. I recall someone once telling me that their child was put on a medication that stimulated their appetite but I don't remember which. We also take our son off his medication for the summer to give him a chance to gain weight.

Denise - posted on 12/08/2010

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I used to give my son a milk shake with a raw egg in it every day, at least once a day. This helped to at least maintain his weight. Kids usually don't have to be hungry to drink milk shakes and the egg gives him extra protein.

[deleted account]

I have a very thin child who has ADHD. We see an endocrinologist. He is adopted from China. I think the key is is he growing, in height. So far he does but just small increments. He wears a size eight pants and is also 12 like your son. He hasn't lost weight but he just doesn't put much on. I would focus on good foods with nutrients and not so much the weight. Try to eat your meals as a family so you can see the quality of food he is intaking.

Gail

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