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ADHD Parents Together
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Experience with Risperidone?

Hi Everyone!

Does anybody have experience with Risperidone (brand name Risperdal)? I agreed to have my 7yo son try it but after coming home from Dr appointment and doing some research, it sounds kinda scary to me. Just wondering if my fears are warranted or if I should keep an open mind.

Some background info: He has ADHD combined and sensory processing issues. He's been on meds since he was 6. Currently taking Adzenys and Guanfacine but his psychiatrist wants to switch out Guanfacine for Risperidone since his extreme irritability and impulsiveness have been on the rise for a few months now.

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It never helped my son so we switched him to Lamictal which has really helped. Doesn't have violent meltdowns anymore

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Thank you for the info! I have not heard of Lamictal but will look into it.

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Lamictal caused my grandson to get violent and also roll his eyes back in his head. Risperidone is the only medication that has been able to control his anxiety and anger. He luckily has had no side effects from it. He is in 7th grade and has been on it since 1st grade.

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Wow, that is quite some time to be on it, and doing ok. It gives me hope and reassurance. It's still amazing to me how each drug affects one's body so drastically different. I'm just debating if this is a risk I want to take. Tardive dyskinesia is serious.

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My son was on Abilify for a mood stabilizer, but it wasn’t really helping. His psychiatrist has switched his Risperdol Rx up a few times, and I think we’ve found what works. One thing to watch out for is weight gain: my son gained a lot of weight fairly quickly once he started Risperdol. He has since stabilized and hasn’t gained more for over a year, so it doesn’t look so drastic on him now. But it was a shock when I first noticed.

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Thank you! How old was your son when he first started? Mine is 7 and I feel he's so young to be having all this put into his little body. Then again, if it works and it calms him down, it may be worthwhile. An anti-psychotic med just sounds so scary, especially with the potential side effects! But as 'seller' posted, what med doesn't have some serious side effects.

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He’s been on medication since he was 4.5, and Risperdol specifically since 5.5. It’s a mood-stabilizer (anti-psychotic sounds so harsh). I recommend having a GeneSite study done: it tells you how different medications are processed in your child’s body so you and your psychiatrist can make informed decisions about his medications.

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YES! Between the anti-psychotic and the adverse side effects, it sounds so daunting. I just pulled out his lab study - totally forgot about that. It just lists Risperidone as 'use as directed'. Hmm. I will def discuss with doc whenever I get my call returned.

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As a psychiatric nurse and the mother of a son with ADHD, I would be cautious with the Risperdal. Risperdal is an anti-psychotic medication. It was originally marketed for patients with schizophrenia and other serious mental disorders involving psychosis and agitation. Abilify, Zyprexa, and Seroquel are other "atypical" anti-psychotics. All of these meds can have serious side effects, although, to be honest, you could say that about most medications. However, some of the side effects from anti-psychotic meds can be disabling and permanent. Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder that causes abnormal facial and limb movements and is not always reversible when the medication is stopped. Weight gain, which can cause diabetes, is very common. Enlarged breasts and pituitary problems are also additional side effects. I believe that Risperdal for ADHD is prescribed for the calming effect it has on any type of agitation. Anti-psychotics were commonly prescribed for agitated dementia patients until the side effects were often worse than the treatment. We were fortunate not to need this type of medication for my son's ADHD, but I have to say that I would have worked really hard to find something else to calm him, if needed. I am sure the dose for kids is much lower than for other indications, but the side effects are not always absent for the low doses. Another potential issue is that many prescribers are not pediatric psychiatrists and are not fully aware of the problems these drugs can cause. Again, I do know that any of the anti-psychotic medications will definitely decrease agitation, but I would do my own research and ask lots of questions before I would allow my child to take an anti-psychotic for ADHD.

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Thank you so much for this detailed info! What my research has shown is what you have mentioned. Our psychiatrist did warn me about tardive dyskinesia but didn't say it may be permanent! Weight gain seems to be a big concern but my son is such a picky eater and is on the very low end of height and weight. Maybe a good thing? Ugh. This is so hard! Just venting and talking out loud. I really don't know what to do. The med has been prescribed to control his constant outbursts and aggression towards family. He's easily agitated. He has also recently started becoming more physical at school, but nothing extreme (slapping a kid for taking away something they were sharing to complete an assignment, twisting a kid's arm impulsively because he was upset, things like that). The dose will be started very low, .25mg twice a day for 1 week then .5mg twice a day for 1 week. We'll then meet to discuss and decide next plan of action. He told me .5mg is the therapeutic dose.

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Just some follow-up: tardive dyskinesia sometimes occurs the first time the patient takes the medication. It is rare, but there is no way to tell who will get it and who will not. And it is not completely dose-related. The weight gain happens because this medication causes an enormous increase in appetite, so it is unlikely that your son will continue to be a picky eater. And the food cravings seem to be all carbs and sweets. I have a patient taking Abilify who has gained 100 lbs. I would ask (strongly, if necessary) what other medications can be used to control the outbursts/agitation. I assume your son is already on an ADHD medication? Is it possible that his agitation occurs when the medication is wearing off? (Not uncommon and kids can be really mean at that time...) I would suggest asking your doc for alternatives to the Risperdal......maybe a mood stabilizer?

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Thank you again for your guidance! My son is on the stimulant Adzenys for his ADHD. Most of his agitation comes out at home, which does start around the window of the med wearing off. But then it continues all night, at varying degrees. I have a call in to the doc to discuss my concerns and hesitations.

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Be sure you do your research - anti-psychotics are not the same as mood stabilizers. They are a completely different class of medications.

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This can get so confusing, Thank you!

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So we have had this side effect with a couple of medications. Years ago they tried to him on depakote and he started dragging one leg and shrugging his shoulder. Immediately took him off that and those symptoms went away.

Recently he was diagnosed with a seizure disorder and the neurologist wanted to put him on Lamictal for that. Within a couple of weeks not only did he get very angry but started rolling his eyes back in his head and blinking constantly. I contacted the neurologist and told him I was taking him off this immediately. The eye rolling stop within a couple of days, the anger went away but it took a couple of weeks for the blinking to stop.

We have been lucky that none of this was permanent but I keep a really close eye on his behavior and any tics.

Never had any of that with risperidone but you need to monitor your child carefully. Everyone is different.

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Thank you. All this feedback really helps.

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I have had two sons on risperidone and it works but it does have side effects my one son gained a lot of weight real fast so we had to take him off but my son that has ADHD and genulized anxiety disorder it is working amazing.

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Were you ever worried to start it given the possible side effects and their age? So glad to hear it's helping your one son!

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Yes I have always worried about giving them that kind of meds but if you talk to my 10 year old today he will tell you that he can tell the difference and he will say it does help I think the biggest issue is finding what works for your kiddo

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Yes, I agree it's an individual approach but it's taking that leap of faith that's holding me back to try it. My son could be the one that has these life changing side effects. Sigh. He's only 7 and doesn't communicate with me yet how the meds make him feel (he's on a stimulant Adzenys for ADHD and guanfacine to help with behavior).

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Yes I totally agree with you it's a tough spot to be in the only thing you can do is what you feel is the best for your child. It's a tough road my son has been doing wonderful this year I have not had but maybe 3 or 4 phone calls from the school compared to getting a call on a daily basis.

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We tried it for my 9yo son for 5 months. I didn't notice much improvement in his behavior while he was on it. He also gained weight. I've seem much more improvement since we started zoloft for anxiety. Some of his aggression, I think, is due to his not knowing how to handle his feelings and frustration.

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Yes! That is what I think happens to my son too.

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My daughter was on it for about year for her ADHD. We found it was stunting her growth and stopped it immediately. When our son was diagnosed with ADD we decided to go the route of no meds and we read up on "color" in foods ex Red#40. It made a huge difference. We still have issues with our son but just removing foods with color added to them, watching how much sugar n salt he consumes daily also helps.

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Daughter has been on it since first grade (maybe kindergarten). She is now in fourth and it is truly has been most effective med for her. No issues for her with it.

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Wow! So happy for you guys. Another post that gives me hope. I haven't taken the plunge yet with the Risperidone. I'm just so scared about those darn side effects and the possibility of them being permanent.

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She didn’t even have the weight gain issues

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