Changing meds: Looking for some advice... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Changing meds


Looking for some advice about meds. My son is 8 and takes Adderall XR 10mg. We thought it was helping but I am just not sure it is the right medication. His appetite is poor and not sleeping well lately. Doctor suggested Remeron to help with sleep and appetite? Anyone ever try it? Did it help? I have an appointment with his doctor this week to discuss. Any other ADHD meds that have been successful? We are having a lot of anger issues but he is diagnosed with ODD too so I know the meds don’t always help with it but he can be so explosive and doesn’t seem to process things very well. any advice there would be welcome. We have taken electronic s completely away because they only seem to make thing worse. Thank you!!

18 Replies

Hi unfortunately not eating and loss of sleep are two things kids struggle with on ADHD meds. My son also had no appetite on Focalin XR meds and they appear to be much stronger from what I observed. My son wouldn’t eat and was very quiet, We switched him to the short acting (4 hr) dose of Focalin and it helped. He’s been taking Focalin for over 5 years and it’s a big help, He has his personality and he eats between doses. He gets meds at breakfast, lunch, then a late afternoon dose to help with homework and sports, We also found the XR didn’t sustain him for 6-8 hours like it’s supposed to so we really didn’t see any advantage to taking it. There are lots of medicines to try so i would recommend discussing with your doctor about perhaps trying something new.

Do you find your son is more explosive after the XR wears off? My son isn’t ODD but can crash off his meds when they wear off if he doesn’t have a small dose at the end of the day. If you want to continue with the XR medicine then discuss adding a 5ml of short acting meds in the afternoon to help him as the XR wears off.

Regarding sleep my son used to take a melatonin gummy to help him sleep (1.5 milligram). After taking ADHD meds during the day it’s hard to shut down their brains. I gave it to him about 2 hrs before bed and it helped to calm him down in time for bed. Every kid is different but it’s worth a try if you don’t want another prescription.

Regarding electronics we use it as a reward. My son is 13 and he’s loves his phone and Xbox. He knows if he doesn’t keep his grades up or get up on time to be ready for school that he doesn’t earn it. It’s the only thing that helps him stay on task. You may want to try using it as a reward for your son.

Thank you for the advice

Hello, I’ve tried Adderall Xr before I was on 30mg for 18 months it had its highs and lows very inconsistent. I’ve since switched to Adderall IR 20mg 3 times daily and I can’t complain. It helps me stay focused a lot more, and every 4hrs I take another if needed. XR Might be to much for your son you should talk to your doctor maybe instant release my work better. Instead of having an entire 12 XR instant release may help you regulate his sleep better. After I’m off of instant release I get hungry. When I’m on I even forget to hydrate.

I have been and many different medications throughout my 26 year diagnosis. I currently take Adderall XR 15 mg, and have taken the 30 mg for about a year. I have learned throughout the years that my body adjusts to medication making it less effective each time. With the Adderall XR it does not curb my impulsiveness and distract-ability. I can't seem to focus on many tasks and get sidetracked very easily. Therefore I am planning on switching to something else. I don't have ODD or any other accompanying factors. But, when on Concerta it would cause me to be even worse with my behavior. There are some medications out there that will help curb some of the ODD behavior as well as treat ADHD. That you might look into.

Thank you! Great feedback

Hi! I highly recommend reading the book Reaching for a New Potential by Oren Mason. This book was recommended by my pharmacist who has ADHD and is an active member in our local CHADD group. It’s about a doctors story of his ADHD and it goes through the whole medication process and all the medications. It’s been an amazing guide and I still refer to it 6 months later!

My twelve-year-old grandson struggles with anger management. Many ADHD medications made it worse. We had to put him on a non stimulant, Straterra, and add risperidone for the anger.

My son was very aggressive on adderral and they switched him to a combination of Focalin and Guanfacine.

It is true that many ADHD kids have difficulty sleeping. This is often caused by the stimulant meds, but there is also research that ADHD in itself also causes poor sleep. As a psychiatric nurse, I would be unwilling to add another potent medication just for sleep. Remeron is an antidepressant, which also helps to stimulate appetite. It's given at bedtime because it also has strong sedative properties. I think you can find other ways to get your young son to sleep better.....lots of people swear by melatonin.

Hi, your doctor can help you to find the right balance of medications to alleviate the side effects. Certain medications can bring an agitation and aggressive behaviors. I think once you find the right mix of medications, dosing times and dosage amounts, your son's behaviors will even out.

My son is 5 and was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and anxiety at 4. We knew something was up when he was just 2.

He can snap at the drop of a hat. He can be loving and then violent. He would rage. He had no impulse control. He was angry seemingly all the time and even when he was happy... it felt like anger could come at any moment.

He wasn't interested in being read to, sitting at circle time at pre-school, following rules, etc. It was VERY much like being in an abusive relationship. We did our best to install rules, routines, consequences, etc. but it took its toll.

How can it not?

We tried a BUNCH of stuff.

We had tried non-medical stuff like homeopathy, caffeinated coffee, lots of therapies (OT, PT, speech, special ed., play therapist), took parenting classes on how to parent kids with trauma/toxic stress (our son was a foster child with us before we adopted him), and so on.

We tried Ritalin and his anger was worse. He was off the freaking walls.

Then we switched him to Clonidine and saw some improvement, but he would fall asleep during the day and seemed out of it and overly emotional.

We ended up getting him tested to see what medicines his body could handle. The results were that he could "maybe" handle a little Adderall and that was about it.

So we tried Adderall.

At first it was a nightmare again. Anger was through the roof. But I had a hunch that perhaps he was on such a low dose that he was basically un-medicated with a bit of adrenaline thrown in. Not a good combo.

So with the doctor's approval we upped it a bit. We saw slight improvement. We upped it again and the violence and anger outbursts went away like a light switch.

We're now on 10mg of Adderall and he rarely has anger outbursts or violence. He's much happier. He can participate in school. He's bringing home art work.

He's still 5. He still has ADHD, anxiety, and ODD... but getting the right dosage worked for us.

I saw all of this to say... we're sure one day his behaviors will act up again and we'll need to take another look at the dosage level and/or medication as this stuff never seems set in stone.

Hope that helps a bit.

Please remember that every child is different, so what works for one person might not work for another. I highly recommend finding a pediatric psychiatrist to help with medication as they know how different medications work and what combinations might give you the results you want. Also, look into havein a Genesight study done. Your pediatrician takes a swab of both cheeks and they can tell you what might work better or worse for your son. My son, for example, metabolizes certain medications faster than “normal”, so we know that he has to have ones his body won’t eat through quickly. I’ve included a link to their website for you to checkout. It was free for us, but I think it’s based on what your insurance will cover. Good luck.

My son is 8 and was nearly diagnosed with ODD when he was taking stimulant medication. He also couldn’t use electronics had trouble sleeping and had a poor appetite while on stimulants. I was afraid for him and honestly I was a little afraid of him. Once he came off of stimulants he no longer had the defiance, anger, and explosive issues. He can even watch tv and play on the iPad without issues. He now takes two meds, one for the impulse control issues that come along with ADHD, and one to help him focus for school. I got my little boy back. I am not saying that this is the situation or the case with your son but I am definitely aware of how stimulants can affect some children now and I want to let others know too.

The most important thing is to know that you’re not alone. You’re doing a great job, talk with the doctor, and keep up the hard work you’re doing for your son.

Hi! My son is 8 as well, ADHD Combine with ODD, and SAD. We tried Adderall and it was a nightmare. He was more angry, sad, not himself. We moved to a non-stimulant guanfacine and have seen a difference. He also goes to therapy to help with the ODD and learn tools when his anger starts to rise. We have also during calm positive moments talked about the ODD moments and what the consequences are if he doesn’t use the tools he has to help work through it. This way he know the expectation and it is not being explained in the moment. We also have noticed he doesn’t really hear us when he is in the zone. I usually sit with him ask if I can help and state a few of his tools to help him gain his control back. It is not always easy, down right hard at times but you got this mama!! Hang in there, and remember you are doing the best thing for him- loving him!!!

Thank you!

The posts above are very consistent with our experience too. It pays to persevere with different doses and drug types because every person metabolizes differently. We too did the genetic testing (same company in link above) and that helped take some of the trail and error out of the equation. We learned that my son motabilzes very quickly - in other words a small dose goes a long way - and it does).

Gaufacine was miraculously helpful for ODD. He takes a tiny dose (I have to spilt the 5mg pill). It also helps with sleep.

The brand Ozzz of children's Melatonin (avail on Amazon) is also a great help. He again only takes half the dose and 20 mins later is sleeping soundly, instead of thrashing around unable to rest.

Hope this helps. At the end of the day, going though this process with a specialist if available to you (vs a general pediatrician) is very helpful)

My son is 10 and was on Adderall 10mg XR. He was doing pretty good, but something was still a little off. He had been on Adderall for 4 years. We recently changed to Adzenyz and have noticed a big difference. He's doing better in school and doesn't affect the appetite much at all. Whenever we had an issue with sleep due to his stimulants, our pediatrician recommended using a very low dose Melatonin at night.

I just did the genetic test for adhd to see what medication might work better for my son, his on focalin 10 mg in the morning like when he takes the pill she changes , his good but when the medication gets out of the system he screams , be disrespecful, doesnot listen etc now In the test it came out he needs strattera.

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