Mountain Dew®

Q: My child has classic FAS with ADHD. How could Mountain Dew® be beneficial to my child?

A: Mountain Dew® seems to be helpful to many kids with FAS disorders and ADHD because it has a high caffiene content (in the U.S.), higher than colas but not as high as coffee. It has natural flavors, and the yellow coloring used does not seem to affect kids like some artificial colorings do.

Q: If caffiene is a stimulant, how would that help my hyperactive child? Won't the caffiene cause an increase in hyperactivity? Why would caffiene be helpful?

A: Caffeine works in much the same way that Ritalin and Dexadrine and Adderall work, as a stimulant to get the brain to fire more efficiently. Mountain Dew® has ingredients that are different from Colas, so it is not just the caffiene, it might be the unique blend of ingredients. If the child does not have any serious mental health issues, then the Mountain Dew® just might help your child's brain function more efficiently. I usually suggest the Mountain Dew® test for parents of kids who may need meds when the parents have concerns about side effects. The Mountain Dew® is a good predictor of whether a prescribed stimulant will help.

Q: Which medication works best for FAS and ADHD?

A: Ritalin has been prescribed for children with FAS, but Adderall is fast becoming the first choice for stimulant for FAS/ADHD, as it lasts longer than Ritalin.

Q: Is it right to give a child drugs just to subdue hyperactive behavior?

A: It is not so much a matter of right and wrong. It is a matter of whether it would be beneficial for the child, and if it is worth the risk of potential side effects. When weighing the risk of trying meds, parents need to consider the risk of not medicating the child. If the child is so impulsive and out of control so as to be at risk of hurting himself or others, then the risk of possible side effects may outweigh the risk of leaving the child unmedicated.

Q: My child is not really dangerously out of control, just hyperactive and very impulsive. How do I decide if meds should be prescribed for my child?

A: Whether or not to prescribe meds for a child is an individual decision made jointly by the doctor and the parents. If the child's hyperactivity is interfering with his or her ability to function in everyday life or seriously disrupts learning at school, then the parents and doctors might consider a stimulant to help these troubled children. Stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall can be effective, not only in calming them down, but in helping them think more clearly, remember and learn better, pay attention (of course) and control impulses (a very important factor in social skills, school rooms, and self-esteem).

Q: How do stimulants work to help children with FAS?

A: Here is a link that explains how stimulants help calm our children:

Q: About that Mountain Dew® - I'd like to hear from other parents who try this as a substitute for meds.

A: This is a series of parents commentaries on using caffiene for a child with ADHD:,2559,1-9126-521_,00.html

Q: Is there any scientific research that explains how stimulants work?

A: Here is a good recent account of a study that shows how Ritalin works (caffiene works the same way, only on a less intense basis):

Q: What about other medications?

A: You can find extensive information on dozens of medications that have been found to be effective in treating children and adults with FAS here:

Disclaimer: This information should not be construed as medical opinion, consultation, or recommendations for course of treatment. The neurological problems of a child or adult with FAS/FAE are complex and require a complete psychiatric evaluation with a comprehensive face-to-face assessment by a trained specialist, such as a psychiatrist or a neurologist, even in the absense of a diagnosis of FAS/FAE. Families of persons who are already being followed by a specialist are encouraged to share this information with them. Families of persons who are only being followed by a primary care physician are encouraged to ask for a referral to a specialist, who can then formulate a treatment plan based on the individual assessment and on this information.
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