Guanfacine and aggression: Hi! New to... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Guanfacine and aggression

greenteamilk profile image

Hi! New to the board.

My son (6) has a very recent diagnosis of ADHD and his doctor prescribed him half a small tablet of guanfacine at night. After a month, we did not see much improvement so he told us to do half pill in morning and half at night. The first days of doing this, he became incredibly aggressive, physically and verbally. It was a marked change, and he was just constantly that way until I just voluntarily took him back to half a pill as the doctor instructed, after a couple days. He is no longer extremely aggressive and back to his baseline.

Now we are at square one with a medication that doesnt do much. Does anyone have a similar experience?

16 Replies

Yes, two of my grandsons were diagnosed with ADHD and Autism. I am their guardian. They were prescribed Guanfacine, and both have become extremely aggressive. They were not aggressive before they began taking the guanfacine. I never associated their aggressive behavior to the guanfacine. WOW! I'm in shock! I will discuss this with their doctor. Thank you so much!

My almost 7 yr old has been on 20 plus meds/med combos. NOTHING WORKS. I can tell you Guanfacine was the devil for my son. That is one of the top 7 that I refuse to ever try again. All the best and big hugs through all this. It can be extremely rough.

I think the main point here is that every kid is different. Every brain reacts differently and there is a lot of trial and error. My son has ADHD and was prone to huge outbursts. The doctor prescribed Guafacine and it worked really well. He took it at night from 6 yrs old for a couple of years. He’s now 11 and better able to control himself without the meds. But he is also helped tremendously by his Stimulant which he takes at school.

My step son has Autism and the Guafacine has continued to work really well for him.

If you see a marked change following any med the key is to of course act quickly, as you have done. Best of luck. The meds have really been beneficial to our kids. I hope you can find the right combinations soon.

My 7 year grandson who lives with me raged with agression when he tried stimulants. He now takes Guanfacine 2 mg at night and 1 mg in the morning with Sertraline 25mg. This is the 3rd adjustment to the dose because of orthostatic hypotension. He is not agressive and no longer rages with this combination.

Hi there!! Just wanted to let you know the same thing happened to my family. My son was prescribed it as a first option for his ADHD but it just made him very sleepy and whinny and very angry due to being tired. He is now on Methylphenidate and it has made such a positive change on his behavior. The Guanfacine we give to him about an hr or two before bed and it has helped him sleep all night, which was another issue we had early on. I hope this helps! It is definitely a trial and error to see what works and I hope you see a positive result for you and your family soon :)

We didn't see any aggression on guanfacine, but my son couldn't adapt to the side effects (nausea, headaches) so we had to give up. You may have to try something else. We have yet to find something that works for us, but it seems common to have to try several meds for the best fit.

Yes my son is four an were going something very similar we are having a hard time trying to figure out what dose of the medicine will be good for him as well he started out just like your son and now he's up to one and a half in the morning and a half at night and his aggression towards his brother and sister is getting worse and worse not sure what to do going to see another specialist and hope that they can help it's hard being a parent and not knowing what to do or how to help your child you just want what's best and I pray that everybody going through this find some way to help their kids

This makes so much sense. I’ve been having similar issues too and both of my boys started taking guanfacine a couple of months ago. Thanks for sharing, I really needed to see this after such a rough day yesterday.

I totally get it. People have no idea how tough it can be unless they have kids with ADHD themselves. My heart goes out to you GalacticTurtle !

Yes we tried this for our son. Guanfacine just seemed to make everything more intense, and he was angrier. It was also intended to reduce his facial tics, but it instead amplified them.

My grandson was on Guanfacine when he was young and it did seem to make him very irritable. A couple of years ago it was added to other medications he was on and it made all the difference. His older brother is also on it but he is also on as medications not Guanfacine alone. Don't know if that makes a difference but it has worked for us.

Wow, so I am definitely not alone here! Thanks guys! Has anyone who tried guanfacine and failed had success with anything else??

We had the exact same experience with guanfacine! Our normally sweet 6 year old became very angry and violent on guanfacine. He’s also on 36mg of concerta. We took it away and he went back to his normal self. We now use melatonin to help him fall asleep at night. So far it’s working!

My 7 year old son has been on Guanfacine for almost a year now and I feel it does help some. He was not able to take it in the morning though. It made him tired and grouchy. He takes it at night. I had a Genesight DNA test done for him a few years ago to find out which medications he would likely have the best results from. If this is something you haven’t tried yet, I’d highly recommend asking his doctor about it. We learned that he would always have a bad interaction with stimulants which has helped inform our medication choices. Good luck, it’s a tough road but you’re not alone out there. ☺️

I agree with all these helpful comments…Every kiddo and body is so different. My 12yo son had moderate levels of aggression (verbal and physical) PRIOR to starting guanfacine. He started guanfacine at age 9 and it works beautifully at reducing his anger and aggression. We can all tell when it’s wearing off; he gets very argumentative and irritable around 20-22 hours after his dose (given at dinner time). I hope you are able to find meds that function better for your son. Keep trying momma!

Hi, yes we had exactly the same experience with my 8 year old son, his psychiatrist refuses to believe the aggression was because of the medication and wants us to try it again but it's the one medication out of all of them that I'm not willing to retry. Our son also has a diagnosis of autism and I wondered if it was exacerbating his autism to the point where everything became too difficult for him to cope. You know your child, you have to do what's best for him.

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