Son won't swallow pills, any ideas?

Tam - posted on 09/19/2010 ( 45 moms have responded )

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My 9 year old has ADHD and still won't swallow pills whole, which makes trying some of the other medications impossible. I can't seem to get him to do it, he's very stubborn. He was on Vyvanse (opened and put in water) but has been off since spring. He gained back weight, sleeps better, seems happier, less irritable. If I have to put him on something I would like to try a non stimulant like Strattera or intuniv but they must be kept whole. I really don't want to put him on the vyvanse again but the resource room teacher e-mailed me Friday asking whats up, he can't concentrate At all etc. She has worked with him for three years. This was the test to see if the meds are even worth it. Focusing is the ONLY reason he's on them and even with them it's a huge struggle for him to pay attention. So does anyone have a magic trick up their sleeve to teach a child who thinks they will choke how to swallow a pill whole?

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Amy - posted on 08/06/2011

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Please don't administer an oral medication anally! That is NOT a good idea. Gastrointestinal absorption is much different than rectal absorption. Talk to your pharmacist!

I hope you found a good solution for your family! My son is on intuniv, which has been working very well for us. You could get a script for Guanficine, which is the same thing, but not time-release. You can crush a non-time release pill (like others have suggested). Good luck!

Rachel - posted on 08/05/2011

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Actually, strattera can be sprinkled in applesauce or yogurt (even though the label says it can't be). It tastes very bitter, though. I have my 6 year old on it this way, with no ill effects.

Tammy - posted on 09/21/2010

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dont hide it. at nine, he's too old for that and you dont want any trust issues.
my daughter wouldnt take pills forever. It was a nightmare.
Practice with ice.. they can't choke on it. have a reward system for success (such as a blizzard ;) ) Now she swallows them no problem.
you cannot split up strattera, it's time released.
good luck and happy gagging.

Samantha - posted on 08/06/2011

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We had to put it on a spoon with loads of honey....and doctors say that a teaspoon of honey a day is good for you. So it kills 2 birds with one stone.

Tam - posted on 11/05/2010

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We tried the guanfacine which is an intuniv type med. Seems OK so far. Its a small pill which must not taste too bad because he chews it and swallows it. He's so funny. The thing is the size of a floride tab or smaller and he will take it but not whole, whatever works! Thanks again for the ideas. We will keep trying to conquer the "phagophobia"- which is fear of swallowing. Not the exact phobia, but as close as I could find.

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Memee - posted on 11/19/2012

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Yes,our son had he same problem and we just crushed the pill onto the teaspoon, gave him a glass of water and that was e only way he took it, obviously more bitter!

Staci - posted on 11/02/2012

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My son is 9 and very stubborn also. He is on Concerta for ADHD and Lexapro for anxiety. He has to swallow both whole. When he first started taking them he was very scared about it. I put both pills in a bite of applesauce and he swallows it down no problems. He is still scared to take them by just taking a drink, but he doesn't fight me anymore about taking his meds. I hope this helps. Good luck!

Gena - posted on 11/02/2012

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Daytrana Patch .....it leave some redness when removed but cortisone creme,to treat the irritant and baby oil to remove residue left behind.....If you keep the field where you place the patch cleaned and treated after removal it won't be too bad... My son I had to fight the Insurance to even

give him the Patch. Because I have insurance on him I pay, through the state I was able to get a law maker to fight on my behalf to have the patch approved. I feel ur pain my son is 8 and can't swallow a pill and it isn't for the lack of tryin.

Holly - posted on 08/05/2011

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if they wont go one way they have to go another way get my drift. upp the but... maybe then he will take the pills

Jenn - posted on 12/30/2010

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Daytrana Patch has been very helpful for my son, who also refuses to swallow pills. It can even be applied before your son wakes up in the am. It is a great balance ~ no side effects (tics), no sedation, just helps him be the best he can be. He will chew his risperidone pill (ughg).

Shelly - posted on 11/04/2010

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Hello Tam I know what you are going through. My son is now 11 and still refuses or is unable to swallow pills. The only non stimulants on the market are the ones you already know about and with Strattera which is what my son was on at first may not always work. When it stops working it just stops. My son is now on a transdermal patch that i put on his hip every morning. You alternate which hips it goes on every other day. The good thing about it is i have seen less side effects than I did with any of the other medicines. The only one I dealt with repeatedly was the loss of appetite. The medication is called Daytrana. It's something you should look in to if you think it will work for you.
Good Luck

Teri - posted on 11/03/2010

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try crushing them up and putting them his food. I did that with my sons adderall for 6 months he finally just started swallowing the pills . just a suggestion

Tammy - posted on 11/01/2010

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Obviously that med just isn't doing the trick. You should continue to work with the pediatrician to find the right med for him. I am a proponent of the stimulant just because it is an immediate affect and wears off shortly after school. I love adderall because it is in the capsule form and the granules can be sprinkled on any type of soft food from ice cream to pudding to applesauce to yogurt you name it. You could also try getting a med that you could crush and put in something soft as well. My son had to take meds when he was 3.5 years old and we had used the incentive program. If he took his meds daily he would earn a cool sticker daily and at the end of how ever many days would work for you he earned a hot wheels car for my little guy. Eventually you can drop the incentive plan once he gets used to the plan. Good luck. Just remember with non stimulants you have to continue to take the meds and not stop because these meds need to have a daily dose to maintain effective levels for your child. If you miss a dose than it may take up to 2 or more days to get back to a therapeutic dose.

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My daughters Dr recommended trying toget her to swallow tic tacs first then work up to m&m's the candy makes it fun for them and of they can't swallow it well no bad taste in their mouth

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My son sounds a lot like yours. he had the same trouble too and hiding it in something didn't work. I used the reward system. He was 12 at the time. What he REALLY loves is chocolate - candy - so I bought several hershey bars and told him if he could get the pill down, he would get a whole candy bar!! It worked - Just to get him over the hurdle and past the fear - for six days he got a Hershey bar at breakfast - it didn't kill him and he got over his fear and has been swallowing pills for 2 years now. I checked into that Daytrana patch with the dr. but my son is fidgety and picks at his clothes/pencils/erasers and fiddles with things during school and I could just see him pulling on it and taking it off (he can never keep a Band-Aid on for long without taking it off), so we went with a pill - focusing is his main issue too and we get approximately 75% improvement with it.

Lori - posted on 09/27/2010

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I too am a fan of the patch. I have a 13 year old who has been on it for 3 years. It is nice for controlling bed time too. My son couldn't sleep because he was still pumped up on the oral meds. The patch comes off at 4 and he is ready for bed by 9.

Beth - posted on 09/26/2010

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good luck- it will all work out- go with your gut!!! Only you and your family know what is best for you all:)

Jessaman - posted on 09/24/2010

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we use a pill crusher and then put it in something like pudding or yogurt.

Tam - posted on 09/24/2010

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We have a Neuro Appt on Tuesday. I will take All of your med ideas (including no meds) to discuss with her and let you know what we decide. I really appreciate your input everyone. This is a very tough decision and problem. My prayers for every family who has dealt with it. For the record we have NEVER hidden this stuff from him and Asher is helping to make the final decision. At this point he does not want to go on meds again. We will see what happens. Thanks again!

Tammy - posted on 09/23/2010

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Pamela, while im sure everyone appreciates your input, surely with your experience you KNOW that adhd comes in more thsn one degree. Im happy for you if you have manageable cases but most of us do not. In these cases it would be cruel to prevent your child from using the nessecary tools to help him or her. I have struggled with type three adhd in a child with a rapid metabolism for ten years. I look back now and am sorry that i didnt take his kindergarden teacher's advice two years before i did. And why did i prevent him from medelication now known to necessary? Because of ignorance and comments from ppl who didnt know enough. She doesnt want to be second guesses about doing right by her child, she wants help getting him to take it. My son is well read on the subject now and is aware an fmri can even show the areas of the brain that are affected and DO ned the help of medication for adhd.

Beth - posted on 09/22/2010

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is it the fear of the pill or is he not able?? Does he have tongue thrust concerns that when he swallows it stays in his mouth so that ends up scaring him?

Michelle - posted on 09/22/2010

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I was told to put it in a spoonful of something we tried both honey and pudding both worked well as it slid down with the good stuff

Lisa - posted on 09/22/2010

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I'm not sure what the non attentiveness is attributed to whether it be from hyperactive brain or inability to shut his system down at night but if his lack of sleep at night contributes to inability to focus during the day then you could maybe try resetting his internal clock with herbal medicine (Melatonin) if doctor approves and I do believe that we were able to crush them when my son was on it.

Mandi - posted on 09/22/2010

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Regardless of what your DR says...call your pharmacist...they know much more about these medications than the DR's do. My DR's office said do not break open the time release pills because it wont have the same effect...the Pharmacist says however you give it to him it's his body that will break the meds down not whether he takes it in the fast dissolving capsule.

Michelle - posted on 09/22/2010

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We use the Daytrana patch for our 9 year old. I put it on 2 hours before school starts and take it off when he gets home. It's expensive but worth it. Good luck!

Donna - posted on 09/22/2010

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Have you tried the Daytrana Patch? And my son will NOT swallow a pill either! Very frustrating and have tried all of my friends suggestions and nothing seemed to work. He has to take a pill for type 2 and it is not made anyother way...finally we started putting it in a bite of Mac N cheese and it works the best...not all the time but the best. And yes he knows it is in there just never wants to know which bite!

Mellissa - posted on 09/22/2010

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We didnt want our son on pills..He was in 2nd grade fixing to go in 3rd when we found out he was ADHD. We talked to his doctor and he suggested a new med that came out its actually a patch its called Daytrana our son is on 10mg. We have never had to increase. The only draw back was he had a reaction to the adhesive so we put a cream on the night before. But its nice hes able to put it on his back or hip or behind and its not noticible to other kids. We have been able to tell a big difference. Hes in 7th grade now playing football and in band and still on the same meds...

Pamela - posted on 09/22/2010

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Is medicating him a necessity? There are some things he can do that might help. Karate is actually something that might help him with his concentration. A lot of what they teach in karate helps with focus and concentration. If you aren't able to get the meds to work I think it might be worth a shot. I have 2 kids with ADHD. Neither of them are on meds, but we work on focusing and concentration almost everyday. Mu brother has ADHD and when he was younger his resource teacher pressured my mom into getting him on meds, which he did. It was absolutely horrible for him (rage, depression, etc). To this day he still says how bad the meds were. This is one of the reasons I try to steer clear of the meds. It is manageable. I have just found that not all teachers want to try to work with it. Most push the medications.

Kathy - posted on 09/21/2010

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Actually, you CAN open a time release capsule - but you can't crush caplets or pills. My son would not swallow pills until he was 14! I ended up putting him on Ritalin LA (in his case twice a day due to his very fast metabolism). He just opened them, poured it on his tongue, and swallowed with liquid. Worked like a charm! Good Luck!

Cyndi - posted on 09/21/2010

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You can not crush or open time release medications he really needs to learn to swallow them, the tick tacs really worked for us they are similare in size to the pill and it taste good until he masters the process.

Kayla - posted on 09/21/2010

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open the caplet into applesauce in front of him. dont hide it. i dont with my son, he is on adderall and he stands next to me while i prepare it. he takes it like a champ!

Cyndi - posted on 09/21/2010

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My son practice swallowing with orange flavored Tick-tacs. He now swallows the pills like a champ

Eve - posted on 09/21/2010

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My son is on Procentra, which is the only liquid ADHD med. Works great although short acting, so he gets another dose at school before lunch. Not much of a flavor so we mix it into milk - any flavor.

Melanie - posted on 09/20/2010

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we swicthed to the Daytra Patch no ills no fighting or tricking, love it

MARY - posted on 09/20/2010

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hi i would suggest to crush them in between 2 spoons and pour yoghurt over them or cereal,works for me..good luck..mary

Tam - posted on 09/20/2010

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Yes, we have tried assorted mediums to hide it in. He always fishes it out with his tounge.

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