Which Medications Make Children Wired?

Medications which can make children feel very hyper or wired are usually those which contain chemicals similar to adrenaline, which is what the body gets pumped with when under stress. The effect adrenaline has on the body is that it increases the individual’s blood pressure and blood sugar and also makes the heart beat faster.

In Baby & Toddler Sleep Solutions For Dummies, Lavin & Glaser identify medications , as follows:

  • asthma medication (albuterol, salmeterol, pirbuterol)
  • wheezing medication
  • over-the-counter decongestants (containing phenylephine)
  • stimulant hyperactivity medication (containing methylphenidate)
  • amoxicillin
  • oral steroids
  • immunizations

It is always best to check with the family doctor or paediatrician about any side-effects which may be causing concern. While most side-effects will not be long-lasting, some medications can cause dangerous reactions, such as anaphylaxis, which requires urgent adrenaline treatment.

Medication Side-Effects in Children – Action to Take

While some medications which make children wired cannot be avoided, such as in the case of potentially life-saving immunizations (where hyperactivity may persist for for a day or two), others may simply be changed for alternatives. As recognised by Lavin & Glaser, in the case of asthma medication, ask if a child may switch to inhaled steroids which should not make sleep a problem, while over-the-counter cold remedies have little proven benefit and are thus best avoided. Oral steroids may be switched for others which have a less stimulating effect and medicine used for hyperactivity can either be adjusted in terms of dosage or switched to try an alternative remedy.

Lavin & Glaser recommend that parents do not adjust a child’s dosage or discontinue any prescribed medication, without first consulting the family doctor or paediatrician. It is also important to remember that the consequences of not taking a crucial medication may likely be significantly worse than any side effects.

As highlighted above, there are many medications which can result in a child feeling wired, including some forms of asthma treatment, over-the-counter decongestants and oral steroids. While some medications may be switched or best avoided, always discuss any concerns with a doctor as an alternative medicine may help get sleep back in track.