Freaked out on Focalin...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Chaosuncontained, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Chaosuncontained

    Chaosuncontained New Member

    This morning, at 9am, I gave Carson his second dose of Focalin (umm, expensive medicine). An hour and a half later he went BESERK.

    He was banging his PSP3 controller into the wall--leaving a hole. Because he wasn't doing well at his game. He was screaming and then crying. Hard to console.

    Later he picked the PSP3 unit up and slammed it onto the floor... angry with his sister.

    Less than an hour later he attacked his younger brother (6). His sister (10) had to hit Carson with a hairbrush to get Carson off of his brother. This was because Caden (6) was "making too much noise".

    I wasn't around for any of these outbursts. The kids were at their Dad's house and he was at work. Their StepMother was in charge. Last year Carson came to live with me full time because his StepMother couldn't handle him during Dad's parenting time when Dad was at work. But I don't think it had anything to do with her inability to control Carson.

    I KNOW it is the medications. He hasn't been acting like this AT ALL. Again, I wasn't there, but my 10 year old was appalled that Carson could/did act this way. And she spends 3-4 days a week with him.

    I am just so discouraged.

    Carson has been on Adderall, Ritlin, Concerta, Daytrana, Straterra, Metadate...I feel like I'm forgetting one or two... I'm so defeated. And tired. I just want my boy to be all right.
  2. keista

    keista New Member

    If you think the medications caused this reaction and it was only his second dose, If it were me, I would stop giving it and contact dr ASAP. I am in no way saying that you should stop giving this to your son without the dr's authorization, but if it were me, I would do just that (have done it in the past)

    Is the Intuiv not helping the ADHD and that's why Focalin was added? He's tried all these other ADHD medications and NONE have worked? Have any helped at least minimally? Looks like Celexa is the only thing he is on for moods. Has that noticeably helped? Maybe it's time to stop focusing on medicating the ADHD and look to medicate the mood disorder instead. That's just what I'm seeing from a mom's perspective.
  3. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Is this the same medication he has been doing so well on? Or is it a different one? Could it be making his mood disorder go into a mixed state?

    I'm sorry he is out of control.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Ritlin, Concerta - same chemical compound, different delivery mechanisms; Folacin - I believe is chemically related as well
    Adderall - different stimulant
    Straterra - non-stimulant that sometimes helps with ADHD
    Daytrana, Metadate - not familiar with these.

    My guess? You're not dealing with ADHD, its something else. Yes, there are a small percentage of ADHD cases that do not respond to medications. But... so often, ADHD responds well to medications - and the biggest reason for switching between the drugs is either zero impact OR unmanageable side-effects (so, switch from Ritalin to Adderall, or to Stratera). I understand switching. But NONE of them work?

    I don't believe your son's reaction is tolerable nor manageable - continuing to give this medication is definitely a problem, and warrants an emergency visit to the specialist. The bigger question is not which medication to try next, but rather... what else could his symptoms be? Because ADHD symptoms overlap with other dxes - what else has not been ruled out?
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My concern, if this were my child, is that he is on (in my opinion) too many medications. What doses does he take?

    Focalin and Intuniv...are they not both stimulants? Who needs two stimulants? I think that could make a kid really manicky. Celexa is nothing tame either. My TEENAGE daughter couldn't handle made her hyper and nervous and she refused to continue it.

    I really wonder why doctors give so much medication. My own experience with medications is that the right medication can do the trick without adding another medication for every single symptom. It is impossible to medicate away every symptom. I'm wondering if he is reacting badly to the interaction between three stimulating medications. Antidepressants do tend to stimulate. Young kids have small bodies. Do they really need the same amount of drugs some adults can't tolerate?

    I always quit any medication that seemed to make my child worse. Not telling YOU to do what I did, but I didn't even bother with waiting for a doctor's ok. If I thought it was doing my child harm, into the trash it went.

    Keep us posted.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sometimes you need multiple medications - but it has to be very well planned. For example, sometimes you will see Ritalin or Concerta, plus Risperidone. In that particular combo, some of the side effects of each cancel out against the other (Concerta is an appetite suppressant, and Risperidone can cause overeating). And the two medications address different sets of symptoms: one is a stimulant, the other is an AP.

    This is a question for the doctor: what exactly is each medicine being rxed for?
  7. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    He is on 3 medications that can stimulate certain people.....your psychiatrist needs to re-evaluate and start over. OR maybe you need a new psychiatrist. If Matt was on all 3 of those medications you would probably see him on the age 6, while trialing Ritalin, he tried to slam his head thru a desk at school while he screamed he wanted to die.....we had to hospitalize him, and that is when the docs realized he had a mood disorder, not just ADHD. Call psychiatrist tomorrow ASAP, and until you hear back from him I would D/C the focalin.
  8. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Intuniv is not a stimulant, I don't remember what class it is but it is not a stimulant.

    We saw things like this with my difficult child when he was put on a stimulant only. For my difficult child he had to be on a mood stablizer to address his mood disorder (for him it is most likely bipolar) and then? We were able to add a stimulant to address hyperactivity and attention. Stimulants are a quick in and quick out medication, if this event was out of the norm for him? Stop the medication and call the doctor.

    If your difficult child has problems with anxiety? A stimulant will only worsen that.

    I would call the doctor, and your signature says your difficult child has a mood disorder, is this mainly depression or cylical in nature? That would make a difference in treatment also.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, yes! Often you need two medications, but they should compliment each other. I draw my limit at two though. As a mental health patient myself, I know that too many medications can be worse than no medications at all. Sadly I've been there done that!
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Oh wow, I've been there. So sorry. Your poor boy. I found out my son had an enzyme disorder making medication management very difficult. Needs extra of some, can't have others and may have to begin dosing in extremely small amounts at times or at large amounts for others. I remember him at age four with one took 4 adults to hold down a 30 lb. kid. In 3rd grade he was given a similar medication to try again and he jumped over the back seat of my car and pulled the keys out of the ignition. Tried to strangle me with the seatbelt, etc. It was awful and I stopped the medications and called the dr. Luckily our dr. decided to do the liver enzyme study.
    I hear what the others are saying, it does beg the question of whether or not adhd is the primary issue....does he have another diagnosis that accounts for those kinds of symptoms. My son has a brain injury that looks like adhd and tourette's on steroids! I really feel for you and your son. I hope you find an answer so you can go on to make some better memories.

    me: 47 yr old single adoptive mom to son (adopted at age 2)
    son/difficult child 14 yr old with autism, acquired brain injury (surgery at age 2 to remove blood filled mass leaving frontal and temporal lobe injury with overall mass effects), borderline cogntive delays, anxiety, adhd, temporal lobe seizures, attachment issues. Symptoms: severe anxeity and fight or flight responses, impulsive, verbal and physical aggression, social and communication issues. Loves watching sports, really desperately wants friends-not much of a clue though,smile...loves swimming and therapeutic horseback riding.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Do you have a child Psychiatrist choosing the medications or a Pediatrician? Often people trust Pediatricians to figure it out...they are not qualified to do so, no matter how well intentioned. been there done that. Sending hugs. DDD
  12. Chaosuncontained

    Chaosuncontained New Member

    Earlier today I logged in and typed up a detailed post answering all your questions. It took me so long to write that I timed out and when I tried to log back in it wiped my post away--poof!

    We went back to his doctor this morning. We took him off of Focalin...and we will not put him back on a stimulant. Every stimulant he has ever been on has made him aggressive, angry...

    We are goning to leave him on Celexa (hes been on for 13 days) and the Intuniv for now. We are awaiting the testing that the county Psycologist is supposed to be doing in the next two months and see what she uncovers (this is all to see if he qualifies for IEP).

    Three weeks ago he was hiding under his desk, refusing to do *any* work, talking out of turn, needing constant redirecting, motivation and hand holding. He wasn't social AT one wanted to be his partner in school and he had several instances of aggression (biting 1 student, "pretending" to bite another and slapping another). He has an AVERSION to writing. Right now, on the Celexa and Intuniv we are seeing him be happier, he is doing 80% of his work in class, he is interacting with his peers, showing an interest in girls and playing with the other boys on the playground. He is still needing motivation, hand holding and redirecting. He is still talking out of turn and distracting his classmates.

    So, I guess, for now, we are in a holding pattern. If he has any major bumps (experience has me holding my breath) I can call his doctor. I hope the testing that the County Special Education (a Psycologist will do most testing...A dignostician will do IQ and Achievement testing)does will shed light on anything we aren't aware of yet. Sad to say that I hope they find SOMETHING.

    Carson slept through MOST of the appointment and complained of a sore throat (he's been sneezing a lot--I know it's allergies). Doctor took a look at his throat and said he could see a lot of drainage. So, I brought him home and he's sleeping on the couch.

    Thank you all for your support and advice. It means so much to be able to talk to and hear stories/advice and experience from those who KNOW what is going on. No one seems to understand how hard this is, except you. That is a huge comfort to me.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This one in particular needs to be followed up on. Typically, it will be one of two things... either of which would also be part of a broad-spectrum diagnosis like Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)...
    1) Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) - developmental coordination disorder - may affect fine motor skills, gross motor skills, or both. If it affects fine motor skills, then handwriting will be a major - and growing - issue, because he's getting to the age where MUCH more written work is required, and where the physical aspects of writing are assumed to have been learned. He may not be able to write well, may not be able to write-and-do anything else (write and think, write and listen, etc.), or may be able to do both but not for sustained timeframes.

    2) Dysgraphia - difficulty producing written work - may be separate from or in addition to Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) - usually verbal skills are advanced and wrtten skills are lagging. Can pull off a great presentation but can't do a report, and an essay exam is brutal because it does not capture what they really know.

    Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) is a developmental disorder - Dysgraphia is a learning disorder.

    If you want more info on Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), a good place to start is:
  14. keista

    keista New Member

    Son had aversion to writing as well. I let him do written assignments at home on the computer. Teacher accepted them. At the next IEP meeting (beginning of 4th grade) I pushed for assisted technology and pulled out samples of his typewritten work vs his hand written work. BOTH the quantity and quality were better with typewritten. There was no argument getting him assisted technology especially this was the year he had to do the writing "high stakes testing"

    I found that anything that helps the schools (oops sorry, kids) score better on those "high stakes tests" becomes a quick and easy accommodation.

    So, see if he'll do written work at home on the 'puter.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If you can get Occupational Therapist (OT) support for motor skills issues - even without a formal diagnosis - you should be able to get technology support in the school and/or any of the other standard accommodations... scribe for written work and/or exams, in-class note-taking service (various ways to do this), exams in multiple-choice, very-short-answer format (think phrase, not sentences), or oral, etc.

    Split the writing problem out separately, so that the real status of his learning starts to show. The more that gap becomes glaring, the more support you'll get for the supports, Know what I mean??