Depakote...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by totoro, May 10, 2008.

  1. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Well we started the big dog... SRL, I asked again about the possibilities of seizures or any other testing.... I got the big, "I don't really think it is necessary" shpeal.
    I am tired of being the only pushing for these things, the (you know the word I am thinking) pushy Mom who worries too much... Who wants things to be wrong with her child... that is how I am treated by family and everyone.
    The just let it go attitude, she is fine.
    So I like our new psychiatrist, besides this fact... I think if I pushed, if the medications don't work, with time, maybe she will agree???
    But for now everything else about her is really good.

    So I have to let it go for know, to keep my sanity, to get through this move.

    But, the medication I had written down in huge letters as my first choice for K was Depakote... That was psychiatrist5's first suggestion...
    She first took K back talked to her, asked her a ton of questions... We could hear K talking very loudly and animated... prior to going in, K had drawn her a picture and was getting that "wild eyed" look.
    psychiatrist5 came out to get her, K just started talking non-stop... K told her that she did not want any medicine that would make her "buddies" go away... (she has been hallucinating pretty bad)
    K told her how school was OK, but the other kids bugged her at times. She couldn't deal with them... she told her lots of things bugged her.
    When we were all in there, K was all over the place, up down, up down.

    psychiatrist5 does not like Lithium in Tucson, especially in the summer for kids. She will use it but not as here first choice. She feels it is too hard on young kids with the intense heat. She has had better results with Depakote.
    So far K is the same... manic a mess. It has only been 2 days. We go in 2 weeks for a blood check. husband is taking her back to Tucson in the middle of June for a re-evaluation with psychiatrist. So our pediatrician is monitoring from here and psychiatrist by phone and then we go back for check ups until we move at the end of July. Most likely just go back once.

    I am nervous about K's school, they have ignored her complaints about stomach pains and being sick in the past. I am thinking about writing a note to the Principal that she is on new medications and her blood levels are being monitored and to please take any and all stomach issues seriously and to call us.
    Only because they have let her sit in pain before... they have no nurse. So maybe if I make it sound serious???

    Any info or thoughts on Depakote??? Thanks!!! I have read up on it and I think I like it??? Of course I wish she were on nothing...
    What side affects have you had or seen? I know weight gain and stomach pains as far as the mild...

    I hope this helps her.
     
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I do!

    I find it really strange that they are unwilling in a child who has had so many problems. I wonder what's up with that?

    I'm glad otherwise you've found someone who gets it and is willing to work with you in your current location. Here's hoping that this medication is the one...
     
  3. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Depakote can also affect the liver, so in addition to depakote levels being drawn, liver enzyme levels should be drawn every few months as well.

    Your psychiatrist can set up "standing orders" at the local clinic/hospital for those blood tests.

    Depakate is a very effective 1st line mood stabilizer, but it takes a while to reach therapeutic levels and can, in addition to the side effects mentioned, cause tremor.

    hth
    toK
     
  4. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    My difficult child has tried Depakote twice. The first time he was about 6 and vomited non-stop for days. The second time he was 11 and within a week he was extremely violent. I hope it works for your difficult child.
     
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Toto, glad to see you are making progress with psychiatrist5.

    Not to minimize the importance of tests -- we certainly have had most of the ones that are significant to my kids' histories -- but the "yield" with MRIs and EEGs is very low, according to our neuro. I'm not sure my kids would have had these tests save for the presence of a long-term history of migraines (since age 4) with my son and staring spells with my daughter (later discovered to be connected to a medication reaction). My daughter's MRI turned up small lesions in her temporal lobes, but our neuro is not even certain they are clinically significant to her mood instability. My son's MRI was completely normal, and he is the one with the more severe mood instability. I can't remember if you've been to a neuro, but if you really want K to have these tests, they are the doctors who will order them. Fortunately, Depakote treats seizures, which is what you would be trying to rule out with an MRI and EEG.

    Both J and A took Depakote as their first mood stabilizer following manic reactions to SSRIs. A went all the way up to a blood level of 125 (the highest recommended to treat mood issues), but she became irritable and depressed so we discontinued it and switched to Lamictal. Within six weeks of starting Depakote, J's mania stopped in its tracks, but then he plunged into a deep depression so we added in Lamictal at that point. Unfortunately, it took us another 1.5 years to stabilize his mood with his current medication mix, which does not include Depakote. But as you well know, every kid reacts differently to medications, and my kids' mood disorders definitely lie more on the depressive end, which is why Lamictal works well for them.

    Common side effects to Depakote include hunger, sedation and stomach upset, which can be reduced by taking the medication with meals. My daughter experienced hair thinning while taking Depakote, which resolved after she went off of it. Rare side effects include liver toxicity, pancreatitis and white blood count abnormalities. Once a therapeutic blood level is reached, blood draws should occur every 6 months to test for blood counts, liver and thyroid function.

    Improvement can be seen within 2 to 3 weeks, but full efficacy is generally reached at 6 to 8 weeks.

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
     
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Good luck, my difficult child did not do well on Depakote, but in my humble opinion, all kids are different and different things work for different folks. Good luck.
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    All kids are different. My daughter took it for three months. Depakote can cause ovarian cysts in girls and it did my daughter. She was in extreme pain. It also made her cognitively dulled. She was in college at the time and quit taking it completely saying "I can't think. It makes me stupid." She gained a lot of weight and hated it. To this day, although she still exhibits symptoms of a possible mood disorder, she won't take any medications because of the experience. Again, everyone is different. We don't know what Depakote will do to your daughter, the good, the bad, the either/or :) Good luck.
     
  8. looking4hope

    looking4hope New Member

    My difficult child started Depakote last September, and it has helped tremendously. He was previously on Risperdal alone, and gained weight and had other side effects. For us, Depakote has been a godsend, but as many other members have stated, everyone is different.

    My DEX was on Depakote, and it made him lethargic and depressed. He refuses to take mood stabilizers after that experience, although he really needs them! It just shows you how different people react to different medications.
     
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    You've gotten some great info here on Depakote.
    All I can offer is the lithium reacts with-your body's salt content and can be sweated out, so it you live in a hot climate, it is hard to monitor the levels in your system.
    So sorry for poor K.
     
  10. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    Good luck with the Depakote. I have no personal experience to offer. I'm glad things seem to be going well with psychiatrist5. My difficult child 2 just started Lamictil...so we're trying the mood stablizers as well.

    I would let the school know that she is trialing a new medication and to carefully watch for side effects.
     
  11. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Thanks everyone... so far she feels fine. The psychiatrist has ordered every test, I don't have it in front of me. But I double checked kept asking her if that was enough, LOL. We added thyroid function as well.
    I liked K on Lamcital but it only helped the low end stuff, she was still very manic. She does not have much depression, or it is not as prevalent as her mania and hallucinations with psychosis.
    I just want to get a a handle on that. I personally like Lamictal!
    Like every thing else, I am going to watch her like a hawk. This time it is nice because we don't have psychiatrist pushing to add on multiple medications... and I will not do that again.
    I think I will write a note to the school.
     
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hi, Totoro! I'm glad to see you back!

    I just want to throw out something on the Depakote ER- my son is on it and it works great for him for hyperness and excessive talking (usually), but he is on a low dose with other medications. When he was titrating up on Depakote ER, he got to a certain, middle of the road dosage and after the third day, he was acting odd. His eyes were glassy and he was very calmly saying things that he never had said unless he was raging- I found this extremely frightening. The depakote was lowered back to the previous dosage and he's been on that since. He has had cognitive dulling this year, but who knows which medication effected that- or if it is just that the medication combo has never been great.

    Anyway- I just wanted to let you know that it's probably a slim chance, but this could happen and if it does, it doesn't mean that depakote has to be stopped completely.
     
  13. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    KLMNO~
    Thank you... I am hiding in the guest room... Mothers day! She is taking The Sprinkles... 125mg BID, for 7 days. And then up to one in the a.m. and 2 in the p.m. after 7 days. We will do a blood check after 2 weeks and she sees psychiatrist in the middle of June for a overall check.
    She is acting weird, but was prior to this! So I am trying to keep this in mind... she was trying to set up a science lab about the body today... she perseverates ALOT. But she is not raging. So who knows, she seems a bit more anxious just a little racy...
    I really am going to try not to add anything on until she is either stable or we stop it.
    Thanks
     
  14. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Toto,
    I hope the Depakote helps! My difficult child was on it at one point for over a year. He never had any side effects. Also my difficult child didn't mind the blood draws-he actually liked them. The hard part was the timing. We were always told he had to take the blood test 12 hours after his last dose, not 11 1/2 hours and not 12 1/5 hours-it had to be very specific.
     
  15. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Toto, just keep in mind that sometimes mood stabilizers have partial positive effects at a therapeutic level, and that's when you decide to add another medication to treat residual symptoms. That's what we've done with all three of my kids. I just want you to keep an open mind about ALL the possibilities.
     
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Hey Toto.

    Depakote made difficult child rage at first, and them sorta seemed to help. It was after 3 months on this that we added Lithium. However, after a couple of years, we d/c'd the Depakote without any noticeable differences. It was hard for me to to tell if the Depakote did anything or not. I feel like I only know for sure that Lithium has helped.

    FWIW, when M was K's age, we tried Lithium. Because we are also in the South, and it was summer, he got really sick and dehydrated. We d/c'd it, and tried again when he was 12. The summer's are a little tricky, but as long as he drinks lot's of fluid, and does not live outside, he is fine.

    Here is hoping all the best for you and little K.
     
  17. jal

    jal Member

    My difficult child has been on Depakote for a quite a while now with no side effects. He too has blood draws (that he looks forward to) and EEG's to monitor him.
     
  18. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    My difficult child 2 has been on Depakote ER since last summer and is doing pretty well on it. Like others, we do periodic blood draws to monitor levels (I think we're overdue, though).

    One negative he experienced was a sudden onset of bedwetting. The fix for that was to split the dose so there wasn't as much of a load at bedtime. Within days of that change, he stopped wetting and has been fine ever since.

    Another side effect that I'd rather we do without, but we're living with, is a significant slowdown in his cognitive processing. It's affecting his schoolwork, but we're trying to adapt and the school is aware and working with us. I'm not really sure if there's an alternative. We certainly don't want to take him off it and go back to the problems he had before.

    Also, in his particular case, he recently went back on Risperdal (long story) and we weaned him off Lamictal (which he'd been on since about January) to see if he could get by on fewer medications, but it's looking like he needs the Lamictal because I've seen a subsequent spike in daily emotional meltdowns within 4 days of stopping the Lamictal.

    Hope that Depakote works well for your K! I think it's pretty well tolerated by most kids who need it.
     
  19. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Well today she is doing pretty well... so far!!! She is for the first time in SO long doing her latch hook rug. It has been since Christmas??? By no means perfect, but we are seeing something.
    Thanks I am taking notes and noting what you guys have said and what she is like... so I will not forget.
    She wants to go to school today also!?!?!?
     
  20. Christy

    Christy New Member

    Glad you are having a good day. I hope the depakote is helpful to your daughter. Many do find it helpful; unfortunately for us, it did not help my son. It took a long time to get to the theraputic level and even there we never saw any positive results but everyone is different so hopefully depakote will have a positvie impact on your daughter.

    Fingers crossed,
    Christy
     
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