Drugs for Autism / ADHD

[deleted account] ( 64 moms have responded )

Hi - just wondering if anyone else is using Risperdone or Ritalin with their kids - if so how much (age of child) and how have you found it? Noticed any side effects?



Update.....

Thanks so much everyone for your comments - especially to everyone that was kind enough to just answer my questions without judgement. I think I made 2 responses in this process - so feel free to go back and read those to see the journey we have been on and why we have come to this incredible difficult decision after 9yrs and exhausting every behavioural, diet related route.



My son is now on apo-risperidone 0.5mg once a day in the morning, and his sleep meds have increased to 3mg of melatonin. The only side effect I've noticed is sweaty hands and he finally sleeps!!!!. Other than that he is still loud, bouncy, energetic - ie still my little boy - however we haven't had ANY violence since starting. So to me that signals success. He still is having some major meltdowns which I can deal with - what became unacceptable for the entire family was the violence and beatings. My aim was never to do this for a 'quiet' life and a sedated child (tho sometimes it's an appealing thought!!) oohhhh did I really say that! lol but to help control the aggression and violence towards myself and the other children (youngest is 18mths) Not an easy decision to make - especially as it goes against my core beliefs, but one made in the best interests of him and the safety and welfare of me and the other kids too.

I am blessed to have an excellent paediatrician, who is going very carefully and slowly - ringing in to check with me each week.

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Christine - posted on 10/12/2010

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My son is on 2.5 ml of Zoloft for anxiety and amphetamines for ADD, he's not hyper. The Zoloft gives him have trouble going to sleep at night so we give him melatonin which works wonders! The meds for his ADD we need to monitor very carefully. He's 9 years old and doesn't quite weigh 50 lbs yet so we give him a respite over the weekends and I've noticed that his appetite increases. He also takes the summer off and then packs on the pounds until the school year starts. I hate to give it to him as he's only on 10 mgs. but without it he can't focus in school. So it's a no-win situation. We've just started giving him some calorie rich milkshakes made for body builders and he's currently maintaining. So all in all, not a disaster.

Gloria - posted on 10/12/2010

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My son uses Risperdone .5mg, but he also takes clonidine .2mg at night as well to help him sleep. It was to the point where the risperdone it self his body had gotten use to it and he was able to fight the sleep. I haven't noticed any side effects, than I was noticing that he was being more aggressive. That's when I found out that along with him being ODD, and ADHD he also has Aspergers. So you can imagine what I am going through right now. During the day he takes aderall and Vyvanse

Madeline - posted on 10/12/2010

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We didn't start drugs until they were 7 and to treat specific symptoms [anxiety] Much depends upon what you're trying to achieve [sorry that's so obvious] what I mean is, some drugs can help with some specific issues but it can take a lot of experimentation to find a good fit.

Heather - posted on 10/12/2010

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I dont say that i believe in drugs. I know of someone that was on ritalin and it made that child sick and then they took him off if it. if the child is bad enough there is more safer alternatives to ritalin.

Carolyn - posted on 10/12/2010

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We use Risperidone (1mg morning and night) and Tenex (1mg morning, 1 noon, 1/2 at 4pm) and seem to be doing well (my son is 5)
Prior to the meds he was very violent and defiant, with the meds he is less prone to violence, although the defiance remains in most situations. he does seem to be adjusting well at school (ABA school procedures) after an extremely horrible start at a 'standard' school. We haven't seen any notable weight gain but we are all enjoying less stressful times!

Michelle - posted on 10/12/2010

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I started my daughter on the Ritilan (at 7) and hated it, the ups and down during the day and when she got home from school it was a major crash. The doctors switched her to Concerta (27mg) and Risperadone (.25mg) (at 8yrs) and she is a totally different child. I resisted meds for 5 years with the exception of Chlorohydrate at bedtime. After the Ritilin experiment she came off the Chlorohydrate and only need Melatonin occasionally at bedtime. She is now 9 and doing wonderful, the teachers can tell within 10mins if she has taken her morning pills and the positive changes we have seen in her behaviours and attention is amazing. Our Dr said the Rispiridone basically gives kids the extra 3 seconds to rethink a situation before reacting. Both my nephews and my daughter have done amazingly on it.

Terri - posted on 10/12/2010

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I know of 2 people in my son's Peer group who have kids on meds for ADHD. My oppinon in that group is The kids need ABA therapy and OT big time...
I dont believe in ADD and ADHD..
giving them pill's wont help if you ask me.. but Many like them.. well if you try to do OT and ABA I bet you would see you can do it with our drugging your kid and labling them

Sharon - posted on 10/12/2010

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My son is now 13 his diagnosis's is ASD/ADHD and he has been on Equasym XL, 30mg once a day for a couple of years. I was very jubilant about putting him on meds, but his education was seriously suffering, and i got to say i haven't looked back, things are still very tough but his come on so much in the past 3 yrs, He sleeps better, is not as violent, the only real side affect that is still present is the loss of appetite, but like christine by 7/8 o'clock he is really hungry so that's when he eats.

Christine - posted on 10/12/2010

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My daugher is 12 and is on Concerta and she takes 45 mg a day. It makes a world of difference for her to concentrate at school. She has been on it for 3 years now. The only side effects we have found is that is supress her appetitite so she doesn't eat much for lunch or supper and then at 8 or 9 at night is so hungry and eats everything in site. She also had problems going to sleep but now that she has an early start time it doesn't seem to be bothering her.

Heidi - posted on 10/06/2010

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My Joseph is 9 yrs old and is on Risperidone .25 mg twice daily and Vyvanse 30 mg once daily. And i don't know. He started it before going to a new school and the first two weeks were a period of adjustment then the second two weeks went much smoother...now the last four days his behavior at school is getting worse, he is spitting in class, taking his shoes off, and being generally disruptive and not accomplishing much academically...I don't know if we need to up the dosage which the pyschiatrist discouraged or what?? We just got him into the mental health center here and they are getting to know him so they can place him in an appropriate social skills training group. His behavior at home is ok, given we don't have the expectations they have at school, he comes home and watches dinosaur movies, and plays with his toys...but if I do try to get him to do something he usually does it with some prompting, he does eem to be getting a little more defiant though...Side effects, the one "they" were most concerned about with the Risperidone was weight gain, he has grown 1/2 and inch and gained a small amount but not enough to worry about, I think 3 lbs. Also Vyvanse possible side effect is weight loss so they may be countering each other . I hope this helps some.

Rachael - posted on 10/06/2010

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Also in regard to weight gain, a fraction maybe... but as he is always on the go.... He is perfect height for weight and looks better than he ever did.... We all originally came from the camp of good parenting.... Most of us have and still do all the right things with diet etc. We all wanted to manage it without any chemical help but it's more than this when we get to the point of considering medication and it is a battle and that's because you just want the best for them. I'm feeling your anguish on this. We have the same age boys and by the sounds of it the same sorts of issues.... Give it a go - worth a shot! X

Rachael - posted on 10/06/2010

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We have been using Risperidal from age 5 on our son. We also used in conjunction with this, Melatonin, both in liquid form. We began using it for sleep deprevation (for us all).... he only slept 2 hours a day and was bouncing off the walls for the other 22 hours!! Self injury had increased dramatically due to the lack of sleep. The first night we used it, it worked!!!. I cannot tell you what a difference this has made in our lives and it was immediate. I didn't sleep for weeks as I couldn't believe it was working like it did and was waiting for something to happen as I was very much anti medication when I went into it.... We have a much happier rested boy and the self injury is a thing of the past so it really worked for us. I have had friends who have tried the same and it hasn't worked for them and they have been put on and found other things to work for their children. It really is a try it and see thing.... He started off on .5ml and it has increased over time. He is about to turn 8, 42kg a very tall, big, healthy boy. He is on 2ml (1mg per mL) in the morning before he leaves for School about 8:30am and another 2ml at 7:30pm along with 3ml of Melatonin. I give him a cube of cadbury's chocolate after he has taken it and he takes it via the syringe that comes with the bottle without any issues because I'm sure he knows it makes him feel better and knows it is worth it. The only time we had a side effect - At one point our Pead. upped his dose by a small amount and he had these scabby sores appear on his head - like a school sore which is what our GP thought it was - but some research on google told us it was the Risperidol, a side effect, so we dropped the dose back down and it disappeared in days. Like everything you adjust it to fit "your child". When you are at the point that you are considering medication then I say try it and if it isn't working try something else until you get it right and when you do, you will and they will get "some" peace and sanity back in your lives! In regard to medication it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about it, it's what is good for you as a whole family and for their poor heads in order to cope with it all! Good luck, don't feel guilty because if it works you will thank the gods above that you had the guts to try it! I wish you the best outcome!!!

[deleted account]

Thanks Helen

I come from the 'camp' of good parenting, love, discipline, good diet etc can fix a whole bunch of issues! However despite making all my own food (from tomato sauce to sorbets etc) from scratch; being very pro-active with my parenting, discipline etc I still have a child that can be pretty 'out of control'. Homeschooling helped to some degree - and now he's back at school part time it's got worse - It's the violence and aggression (mainly towards me but not exclusively) that is the hardest to handle. I can't even believe I'm in this situation. I have tried so much, but still most mornings he will throw the biggest hissy fit over something apparently trivial before going to school - still at 9 can't manage transition. If he's this bad now, I dread to think about the teenage years. I cannot tolerate the beatings and I cannot tolerate what this is doing to my other children.

He has been diagnosed with autism & ADHD. I've been anti drugs, but really in order to keep my other children (and me) safe, and with increasing violence I am kinda left with no other options.
Paediatrician was fantastic - said what we had done was way more than any intensive therapy could offer, but the drugs would now help bring everything to a much manageable level. It's taken me a long time to get to this position. I just feel I should be able to manage without. However I wonder if I would have such an internal battle if he was a diabetic suggesting he needed insulin? She is starting him on 0.5mg of Risperidone and increasing his melatonin to 3mg.
The mehtalphadate (another name for Ritalin?) will be started once we have the aggression under control as he often is not aware of his implusivity and is very 'hyper' and full on. Another problem for him is he has also fracture his spine, so being 'hyper' throwing himself around etc is not helpful!
I do at times tho have a loving, kind boy - just hoping this side will show through more.
I don't want judgement, so your post was helpful. I'm very nervous about doing this - hence wanting to know what kinda side-effects others have come across. She said weight gain could be an issue - but wouldn't be bad for him - but honestly don't know what other route I can go down.

Helen - posted on 10/06/2010

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Hi, you will find that everyone will have different opimions on this. I currently use Risperidone for my son whom is diagnosed ASD only and is only on 0.25mg and he is 5yrs. This has been gradually increased over time. He only started off on .01mg. This is only used at night before bed for sleep. He was grinding his teeth away all night long and thrashing around in bed at night. He used to be aggressive and hit me and throw things and I could go. Lets just say the medication he does take, even though its only very little has helped him in all of those ways. He is a different child and I am a more relaxed and enjoyable person. We have not had any side effects given he is on such a low dosage. I have only heard negative things about Ritalin. Hope this helps in some way, and goodluck.

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