Medication Rollercoaster


We’ve been on a medication roller coaster for the last 2 years and still not sure we are on the right track! My son was diagnosed with ADHD, ODD and Dyslexia in March, 2011.

In May, 2011 we started on the traditional, Ritalin, amphetamine based stimulant, resulting in high anxiety, tension and agitation we decided to try non-stimulants. In addition to Ritalin he was put on Prozac for depression and anxiety. Instead of taking care of my son’s depression and anxiety, Prozac did the opposite, made his mood, anxiety and depression worse. His mood swings got so bad we took him off Prozac immediately and put him on a low dosage of Abilify to stabilize his mood.

December, 2011 we started Strattera and Intuniv, non-stimulants, for focus, still resulting in extreme moods and drowsiness, even on Abilify (who wouldn’t be moody when you are tired all the time). In August, 2012 to go off Strattera and Intuniv and try Vyvanse, a dexamphetamine based stimulant instead. It worked well for 9 months (I thought) but he always had a difficult time coming off them in the evening (we called it the bewitching hour), high anxiety and easily irritated.

This April our son’s teacher told us our son is having a hard time focusing in class and not learning, therefore, decided to change medication again. In order to move on to the next choice of medication, we had to go two weeks without anything for focus but remained on Abilify, it was amazing how happy and calm our son became when he was off the stimulants but ‘O MY’ did I have complaints from his teachers. One of his teachers actually asked us to put him back on Vyvanse for focus, and I just learned that her request is against the law since she is not a doctor, imagine that!

After meeting with our pharmacologist/psychiatrist in April we came up with a new strategy. Since the Abilify has stabilized his mood, we can now try Strattera again but starting at a very low dosage and increasing the dosage slowly for four weeks instead of starting at the max dosage from the start. Tonight we will increase the dosage and so far so good at home, in sports, social activities but at school he’s become more defiant with his teachers.

Remember medication does not work alone! My husband and I try very hard to have a nurturing and stress free home environment (not reality though), my son attends a weekly social skills group, sees a child psychotherapist weekly and has tutors to help him with homework and school projects. Open communication with school and teachers are very important too. I touch base with his teachers 2-3 times a week. Our goal is to eventually be free of medication and if not, lower dosage he’s currently on.

Today I received and email from my son’s teacher and he’s staying on task, focusing and not interrupting in class. I am so excited could this be the right medication regimen for him? We could only hope!

This will be an ongoing subject…to be continued…

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