Log in
ADHD Parents Together
8,828 members2,861 posts

Trialling medications is freaking me out!! I hate drugging my child. Have tried an antidepressent, Ritalin, Staterra and now Intuniv!! Help

Hi there. I am a Mum of two beautiful children (girl 8 and boy 11). My son is 11 and has been diagnosed ADHD and social emotional disorder. His school treats him like he is a bad kid. He is not aggressive just fidgets heaps. He talks constantly but is generally a happy kid. Never fights, he is like a puppy dog...

We started trialling medications last year. We started with an antidepressent but he had suicidal thoughts. We then went to Ritalin 10 mg but he was too up and down and wouldn't eat and also felt like he was going to poo himself. Then we went to 30 mg slow release but he just looked drugged out and developed a series of different ticks. From head twitching to eye rolling. We stopped that and went to Strattera. I thought my son was going to punch someone as he got really aggressive so stopped that.

It has been 7 weeks since stopping meds and my son has been OFF THE HOOk!! Not doing any school work, annoying everyone, not caring, causing arguments etc. So we have started another medication. We are on our second day of Intuniv. I am unsure what I think about it so far. My son is so so tired and feels like he will throw up. I seriously hate drugging my kid like this so that he fits in at school. I wish schools were more accommodating it really gives me the shits. I am a teacher as well and I accommodate for children with ASD and ADHD in my classes. It pissed me off. So I will spend another night by my son's bedside listening to him breathe and hoping that he is not going to react badly to this new medication. Can anyone give me any insight into Intuniv?? Thanks xx

29 Replies
oldestnewest

Welcome to the group! We are here to support you through this journey. The medication trial is exhausting. I remember it well. The funny thing now is I asked my son about the time where we went through it and he can't even remember it.

We just continued to strive for what is best and knew we ( including our son) could not live without proper medication. For us it's not just for school, it's so he can experience a calm productive, social life for years.

As far as the medication Initiv, for us it is amazing. Our son takes a 24 hour dose at bed time to help him sleep and focus in school. He also takes Ritalin right before leaving school and a booster dose in the late afternoon. Prior to this he was not doing well and we knew it was the only option for us.

I am also a teacher and make many changes to my teaching for the kids I teach that have ADHD. Our son also has a 504 plan and sees a counselor often. This is our life and right now these supports are needed for success.

It should all work out for your son.

Take care.

1 like
Reply

I am so sorry to hear of this trial by fire for your boy. By training, I am a child psychologist and a prevention scientist. Modern society has an epidemic of this, which is to being discussed outside a small group of scientists. Presently, 1/2 of our children will have a psychiatric disorder by age 18. That is something very new. We know about some of the reasons for the epidemic, and some things you can do:

1) Increase your child's physical activity, and the biomechanics related to evolutionary mismatch help explain this.

2) Reduce the omega-6 diet consumption of your child dramatically (e.g., soybean, corn and other such oils). These are highly implicated in the epidemic. Increase omega-3 in your child's diet. See the work of Joseph Hibbeln on pubmed.gov.

3) Reduce electronic games.

4) Consider having the Good Behavior Game (aka the PAX Good Behavior Game) (www.goodbehaviorgame.org) made part of your child' IEP or 504 plan. My colleagues and I have multiple randomized control studies showing the strategy prevents, reduces or remits these behaviors. Look up the science at pubmed.gov. (Note: I have a conflict of interest mentioning this because I am the scientist who caused this to be more widely used and I make money off it.) That said, it is the single best classroom strategy to reduce, remit or prevent these symptoms. All these suggestions have been reported as powerfully helpful by the US Institute of Medicine Report on the Prevention of Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People.

2 likes
Reply

I find your response interesting. Our son is a competitive athlete. He has sports almost 6 days a week. We do not have any video game machines in our house, but once and a while we let him play on his computer for a short time.

He was forced to be on the SCD diet for over one month. So he could only eat meat and veggies with natural oil (no sugar). We saw no difference in his behavior over this time. He was not better, it was worse they finally had to add rice becuase he was not functioning well. To us we know this is a biological condition becuase as soon as the medication wears off he is very hard to deal with and unable to focus on homework or life skills and can't control himself.

2 likes
Reply

I don’t know if it helps you to know that you’re not alone or not, but I could’ve written what you wrote with different medication names. My child and I have tried out 5 medications this school year. Now it is two weeks before school ends, and we have finally found one that seems to work. Better late than never, I guess. I really have no advice for you because we are in the same place as you. One glimmer of hope from my child’s psychiatrist was this: a lot of the symptoms of adhd will dissipate in adolescence as children become better able to self regulate and become more aware of people in their surroundings. They’ll still have adhd but be better able to cope with it. This gave me hope for the future at a time when I really needed it. Like you, I have spent a great deal of this school year bitter about all the steps I’ve taken to love and support my students with adhd, feeling that my personal child’s teacher should have done the same. Good luck to you!

2 likes
Reply

I am not sure whether my advice will help you or not. I will ask you some questions and give you some hints on what to do. Did you read about ADHD? Do you know about alternative medications? Did you think about what is going on with your child, thing are going worse as you said, you gave him a number of drugs with not REAL improvement, on the contrary, they made him worse. he was "a puppy dog" and now "off the hook". FIRST OF ALL I advise you to read this book goodreads.com/book/show/330... I believe you will thank me a lot after reading it. IT GIVES YOU DETAILED DIRECTIONS ON WHAT TO DO AND WHAT NOT TO DO. the best thing I love about this book is ALL his methods of treatment are with NO side effects. IN brief, I suggest you think of good brand of omega3+ a good brand of magnesium+ a good brand of multivitamin. STOP giving sweet products to him + a regular time for exercise+ limited screen time . all my suggestion are based mostly on the book i told you about "finally focused". waiting to hear from you

Reply

Can you please write the book's name and the author's name?thanks.

1 like
Reply

With pleasure. Finally Focused: The Breakthrough Natural Treatment Plan for ADHD That Restores Attention, Minimizes Hyperactivity, and Helps Eliminate Drug Side Effects. check this link jamesgreenblattmd.com/books...

best of luck

Reply

Thank you.

1 like
Reply

You are welcome. I hope You find all you need there.

1 like
Reply

So sorry to hear about all these drug trials. It’s hard for him as for you to watch him go thru this. Heart goes out to you. My son has only been on one drug & it is helping so far. I wanted to share a book n site for this lady I came upon. Saving Sarah by

Susy Parker

Saving Sarah: Learning to Live, Love and Laugh with ADHD

She had a blog & YouTube video too. Hope this helps!

Reply

My son was on Guanfacine and Focalin at the same time for over a year. They kept increasing the Guanfacine until he was at the maximum 4 mg. All it did was sedate him and didn’t help with outbursts or to do his work. He would fall asleep at school and they would ask if he was getting enough sleep at home. We decided to take him off both medications so we could start with just one and see why was working and what wasn’t. FYI you can’t do that with Guanfacine. It is supposed to be tapered. Lesson learned! Anyway once he was off we saw how much it was truly changing his personality. Anyway, his psychiatrist recommended broad spectrum micronutrients after we told her we could not bring ourselves to put him on Prozac. Our little guy is 7. He has had great response to Hardy Nutritionals Daily Essential Nutrients. There is also another company called True Hope. Definitely worth looking into!

Reply

It is exciting to read about your success with Hardy DEN! We have purchased it for our son but he is having difficulty swallowing the large capsules. Any advice? Thank you :)

Reply

I have been lucky because my son does well taking the cassoulet. From reading the reviews, another mother had trouble with her son swallowing them and they offered to swap them for the powder. You could try doing a smoothie and seeing if he is ok with it that way or in some yogurt. As they have to take several doses per day, it would make it more difficult at school...putting the pill in a bit of yogurt to see if that will help it slide down might be a good first option. I also read somewhere that there is a you tube video that teaches kids how to swallow pills. You could also call Hardy Nutritionals and see if they have any recommendations for you. I am so excited and hopeful for you!!!

Reply

My heart goes out to you..... I keep up with this forum to stay open to the idea of medicating, and unfortunately after reading the posts I never feel inspired to. The trial bit is so scary.... my 7yr old with adhd has started to find his way without meds and I find his efforts to self regulate remarkable every day. I may have to resort to medication later, but I am sincerely hoping not to.

There are people who swear by medication for their child, and I see that it works for them-the side affects seem worth it for those families.

... still watching and looking on.

Best of luck to you.

♥️

Reply

Adult with Adhd here, did your dr try lowering the dose of the Adderall at any point? I was first put on 10mg Adderall, 3x a day and it was WAY too much for me. I've always been super sensitive to any kind of medicine though. I found my "sweet spot" at 2.5mg 2 to 3 times a day. (35 year old female, 5'3", 115lbs).

Maybe a much reduced dose of Adderall/Ritalin would help? They say the zombie reaction means the dose is too high.. best of luck and big hugs!

2 likes
Reply

My son is 14 and has add inattentive type. He was on Aderral when he was 12 years old but had to stopped after 2 weeks because of side effects (too emotional, whiny, angry). We never put him on meds after that. He had some struggles throughout middle school but with exercise, omega 3, 504 plan, multivitamins, probiotics helped him a lot. Next year he will be in high school and I know he needs to be in meds. I worry about trialling meds for him so just wondering if you or anyone here heard or tried genetic testing for adhd. If so, did it help? Is it expensive? Is it worth it?

Reply

My 8 year old is on that. He had excessive drowsiness and stomach pains for the 1st few weeks but then adjusted well to it. It seems to help his aggression and hyperness. I really understand what you mean about the schools. My son's principal like to use the "choice" word a lot as in he(my son) has made a bad choice. I wished he understood that kids like this are not actively making decisions. Good for you for accommodating the special needs of the kids in your class. That makes you a rock star in my eyes!

Reply

I feel your pain... medication, school, and all the rest. Feel free to reach out to me at any time. I'm not an expert in anything, but I am always willing to share my experiences and provide support to others. My son is now almost 8 and we have been living with ADHD for 4 years. Without any medication or supplements, he was very hyper, could not sit still, and had trouble going to sleep... it's like he was always wound up and couldn't unwind. He did well in school academically, but was extremely forgetful and pegged as irresponsible. Being gifted, he often finished work early and simply could not sit quietly at his desk until others finished. He found ways to 'entertain' himself. He lost recess, his ONE opportunity to freely move around, nearly every day. We were lucky enough to be able to put him in a private Country Day school where going outside and physical activity are integral parts of the curriculum. He was also placed in a higher grade, which has helped with his engagement.

We went through several different amphetamines, but they all made him agitated and aggressive. Of course, we didn't know that at the time, so we spent the good part of 2nd grade in conferences because he would often hit and scream at others. The doctor suggested we increase the amphetamine. Only when we did this did we realize it was the amphetamines that were causing the aggression.

We finally decided to try Guanfacine (Intuniv) along with some nutritional supplements. It has worked very well for him. He weighs about 100lbs (he is very tall for his age and a little chunky, but not over-weight), and he takes a 2mg tablet in the mornings. We tried giving it to him at night because he was feeling sleepy in the afternoons, but we found that he is actually LESS sleepy if he takes it in the morning. He still gets a little tired after school, but I let him nap on the ride home and he seems fine the rest of the afternoon. He occasionally complains of a belly ache. One of his doctors took an x-ray of his abdomen and explained that he has a type of constipation that you don't often hear about (don't recall what it is called). He was "going" every day, but he was not clearing the bowel completely. This may or may not be caused by the Guanfacine, but it can be a side-effect. We all started drinking more water, and I give him a half a dose of Myralax twice a week, or any time he mentions he has a belly ache. He hasn't mentioned a belly ache in a couple of months since we started doing this, so I think it is helping.

In addition to the Guanfacine, he takes Deplin 7.5mg once a day. This supplement has had the most significant positive effect on our son of anything else he has taken. We had a genetic profile done and our son has a MTHFR gene abnormality. His body is not able to process folic acid. Deplin contains a processed form of the vitamin. As is sometimes the case with gifted children, he would often over-analyze and worry about things unnecessarily. He had nervous habits like peeling the skin around his fingernails. He got upset rather easily... he couldn't take even the smallest amount of adversity. He was seeing a counselor for generalized anxiety disorder. After about two weeks of taking Deplin, he quite suddenly became a much happier child. He is so positive about things now, and has no trouble accepting feedback from coaches, teachers, and us. The nervous habits stopped. I'm sure that he has matured naturally over the last year, but I truly believe that Deplin has and will continue to help him control depression and anxiety.

The other supplement that he takes is Vayarin, which is no longer being sold in the US, but is still available is some other countries. It is an Omega-3 supplement. I'm not sure if it is helping, but it certainly doesn't hurt. I'm still trying to find a replacement for this as I will run out of them in July. The options I've found also contain vitamins that he doesn't need more of. I'll post in the group what I finally decide on.

The best advice I ever received from a parent who raised two kids with ADHD is this: Do what works right now. Always go with your gut. The kids will change and their needs will change. What works today may not work tomorrow. You will make the wrong choice many times. Don't ever feel guilty about it.

Reply

Hey there! Quick question: I have a double mutation for MTHFR and my son has inherited a bad copy. I have been supplementing with Smarty Pants vitamin with L-methylfolate and find it helps me tremendously! I give the same type to my son and while I see some improvement it is not as significant to mine. How is Deplin different for over the counter L-methylfolate?

Reply

I'm not really sure if there is a difference. It is the exact same active ingredient. They have their own patented formula, but I don't know if that makes much difference. I've been using Deplin because I get a prescription for it and can use my pre-tax medical spending account to purchase it. It is more expensive than the over-the-counter version. The cheapest you can get it for is $58/month if you order it through Brand Direct Health online. I am thinking of trying the OTC version made by MethylPro this summer as it is cheaper. If my son responds favorably to it, I will ask my doctor for a prescription for that brand.

Reply

I'm so late to this thread, but Welcome and I think most of us feel your pain! My 12 year old daughter was diagnosed bipolar and ADHD last fall. We have been on numerous different medications and dosages. It's hard to determine with the ADHD and bipolar whether it is mania or hypomania and sometimes it's probably a little of both. She cycles into deep depression and then we adjust the medications. She is currently on 75 mg of lamictal, 20 mg of Abilify at night, 54 mg of concerta and 10 mg of Ritalin in the afternoon. they have hormones and changes in their little bodies too so imho you have to roll with the punches a little bit.

Medication has saved my child's life, but the best thing I did was take away all electronic devices, no internet at all and counseling. She has her own counselor, we go to family counseling together. It's hard, neither one of us wants to be uncomfortable, but we do it because we need to work through this together. This is not a curable situation, it's a life long decision for her. How am I going to live my life? What is my decision today about how I want my life to be? How can I make that happen? She also has an IEP which has helped tremendously.

Mostly for me it's about how I'm going to support her. I didn't want this for my daughter. I didn't ever think I would be in this situation. But it's what she has. I will support her. I will do WHATEVER it takes to help her, including changing the way I am, how I react, my words, my actions. It's working, it's hard but it's working.

HANG IN THERE, we are all here for you!

1 like
Reply

My grandsons are both on Intuniv. It does make them groggy at 1st but that wears off after a while. That alone doesn't help though, they are both on mood stabilizers too.

Getting him stable on medications is going to be a must before he gets in trouble with the law. Been there, done that and it is awful.

Counseling helps too. Good luck finding the right meds for your son.

Reply

We are just beginning this journey. Our son is 8 and was recently diagnosed with ADHD, though we suspected it much earlier. We have tried four different meds and have hated every minute of it. We have not found the right one, all kinds of side effects. He attends private school and for next year they have said that he may not return unless medicated. He failed 1st grade spelling and reading. We are wondering what to do now.

Reply

Sorry to hear that - I know the medication trial can be a rough time. Just went through it ourselves this past winter.

I'm going to second KitiraCheyanne - it sounds to me like the slow release stimulant was too high of a dose. Plus, there are two different types (methylphenidates & amphetamines), so when one doesn't work, the other one might. Who is your prescribing physician? If it a pediatrician, it may be time to seek out a child psychiatrist.

We started off trying guanfacine / Intuniv, as my son also has a tic disorder prior to medication. For us, it did make him sleepy (though seemed to wake him up in the middle of the night.), especially at first, though that It seemed to calm his body, though it didn't help his focus much. He did gain some weight, but mostly we stopped as it seemed to flatten his personality a bit (nothing drastic) without helping focus. He then tried Strattera, which made him very negative. He also hated how he felt on that one.

Now we are 20 mg of a slow release methylphenidate (Metadate CD), and it seems to be working well with out exacerbating his tics.

Reply

I'm so sorry you both are going through this. The hardest part is figuring out what works. I found a genetic test from GeneSight that actually has a test specifically for ADHD and what medications will work and which to avoid—all based on your son's own DNA and how his body metabolizes medication. It will even go as far as whether he will need a stimulant or a non-stimulant. It takes all the guesswork out of medicating, and the time as well. It was a lifesaver for us. They also offer another genetic test for the MTHFR mutation, which is linked to a person's inability to metabolize anti-depressants properly (and a very common issue found in people with ADHD). If you have the mutation, most psychiatrists will prescribe a special supplement that when taken in conjunction with an anti depressant, the meds will actually work for them. It may be worth looking into doing and get him on the correct medication quickly! Good luck!!

Reply

Hey my son who is 10 takes focalin xr 10 mgs in the morning with 1 mg intuniv also in the morning then a booster dose 2.5 mgs after lunch and is helping him alot. You havent try focalin?

1 like
Reply

Our son is 12 years old as now that he is more mature, we moved his AM medication to right before he walks out the door. He is now easier to wake up and do all of the things he needs to get out the door. So right before he walks out the door we give it to him and it is working much better because he then uses most of it for academics and it doesn't wear off before the school day ends.

I hope you can get there so he has to take it less often during the day.

Reply

I hope my son matures when his that age.

Reply

It helps a lot!

Reply

You may also like...