When medication started, how soon did you see results?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Loralyn, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. Loralyn

    Loralyn New Member

    As my almost-6-year-old is screaming downstairs, I am looking forward to our first psychiatrist appointment.

    Would you mind sharing your first medication experiences for your child...how soon were medication's effects experienced and what were they?

    Thank you so much!
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    It depends on the class of medications.

    You might see immediate (same-day) results with a stimulant, although sometimes the psychiatrist will start with a low dose and then titrate up after a week so you might not see significant results right away.

    An SSRI antidepressant usually kicks in in about 3 to 6 weeks.

    A mood stabilizer takes about 6 to 8 weeks to become fully effective.

    Atypical antipsychotics generally work within a few days or so.

    Do you have any idea what your difficult child's diagnosis is?
  3. Loralyn

    Loralyn New Member

    Thank you -- we have had my son tested both a childrens hospital and by a private phycologist, and the school therapist and a neurologist...but this is our first visit to a p-doctor.

    All of the above testing resulted in "wow, you have your hands full!" but no diagnosis. My gut has always told me different.

    I have that boy that so many of you describe. Mean, physical, screams, hits/kicks, destroys house, not afraid of anything (high cliffs, freezing ocean in the winter, male teachers, pain). Kicked out of preschool and fights at kindergarten, visits with school therapist 2x weekly & we did behavior therapy in our home for 2 yrs.

    We don't get invited to play or to brithdays, all of our friends keep a distance because if my son is around, some one is likely to get hurt...and I can't hold back the tears of sheer embarassment.

    He tells me "mom, I do my best, but I need help. I get so mad."

    When I read the book "only a mother could love him" I got chills and knew we needed to push until he can have a friend and be left alone wiht his sister for the two minutes when I have to use the bathroom...

    You are all amazing parents here, thanks for the information.
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Loralyn, I'm really sorry.

    My only advice to you is that I hope you get some kind of working diagnosis before you try medications because the wrong medications can make your son worse.

    For example, if your son has bipolar disorder and you try either a stimulant or an SSRI antidepepressant, he could become manic. And that would be 100 times worse than what you're dealing with now.

    What was the reason given that no one testing him could give you a diagnosis?

    Have you read up on various childhood disorders? Does anything ring a bell for you?
  5. Loralyn

    Loralyn New Member

    I think I would get a diagnosis if I had him tested today. He is a rock star one-on-one...smart, funny, confident, cutie. It is with other children/adults in authority/social situations or any time at home when he is unable to be in control. The testing was verbal & physical, blood testing - just him and one "fun new therapist". Is that the usual testing?

    When we sat down for the results, two therapists said he was too young at 5 to diagnose and one said he was a genius while the other said to "snuggle him more - he needs more mommy time."

    Everyone kept saying "keep him off drugs for as long as you can handle it" so I did. Augh.
  6. agee

    agee Guest

    My son was diagnosis. with ADHD at 4. His diagnosis. has changed since then, and is still changing, but I am very glad I found someone who was willing to work with us then or difficult child wouldn't be anywhere near where he is now. Up until 2 years ago he would either not respond when we made a request or scream NO no matter what we asked him. Now, he usually will give some kind of real answer about 50% of the time. I credit the medications, whether the right ones or not, for that. Also time. Also lots of time outs. ;)
    Anyhoo - to answer your question: with stimulants we saw results immediately once the dose got high enough. So the first week we saw nothing, second week, not much, but third week, once dosage was amped up, we saw results.
    As for the antipsychotics, I've seen little results in my difficult child at all. Prozac took a couple of weeks, but we did see a change eventually, and imiprimine, which is an old-school anti-depressant, we saw immediate results for the better.
    Good luck. I know what it's like to worry that the people evaluating won't see what you see. Lucky for me (??) difficult child has really been acting up recently and has been showing everyone what he's capable of.
  7. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    It took one year, here's why.

    medication combo # 1 didn't work
    medication combo #2 worked after a month went by and stopped working a month after that
    medication combo # 3 sort of worked but left too many symptoms
    medication combo #4 made him worse

    etc. etc. etc. You get the idea.

    I wish I wish I wish I could tell you your life will be great in a couple weeks. If it happens like that you would be very blessed indeed. In my case and as I suspect in some other families it is a process not an event. Some people see results but it only takes the edge off it doesn't make life peachy so to speak. A few people never find the right combination.

    I am sorry I do not have anything more encouraging to offer. Believe me when I say I know exactly how exhasuting the process is.

    On the flip side my difficult child is slowly, ever so slowly but surely moving forward. Although he slips up from time to time he has improved his attitude, is getting better grades and just trying in general. Of course he makes me nuts once in awhile but it's not like it used to be.

    I'm feeling closer to the light at the end of the tunnel than ever before and it feels nice, not great but nice. Still have a long way to go but we'll get there.
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Wee took Risperdal 3 times.

    The first time, they started him on the lowest dose available. I think it was .025mg? Not sure, but lowest available. Gave him the tablet and didn't do a dang thing to him but make him a wild and crazy maniac (normal) but drunken (not normal - now we had a 3 year old that routinely leaped off the counter tops who was too drunk to walk, much less leap from the counters successfully).

    The second time, we cut the pill in half. Still drunk, just not as bad.

    Third time, I agreed to give it to him to humor the doctor...I saw no point in trying it a third time, but low and behold, 30 minutes after giving it to him, it was the wonder drug - for the first time in my son's life, we sat down and played on the floor with toys and crayons. He was 3.5. Unfortunately, the great effects didn't last long before his his tolerance grew and the amazing effects went away. We took him off of it for a month, and then put him back on it, and while it still helps, those amazing results have never been repeated.
  9. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member


    So sorry you're going through this. The others have given you great feedback. In our case, it has been a process. I resisted medications for a long time, but once I concluded that they were inevitable, I expected that everything would change in an instant. Didn't happen. We tried various medications in various doses, and various combinations. The thing is, you're dealing with a moving target. Symptoms evolve over time, and you throw in factors like rapid growth spurts (where difficult children outgrow their dosages really quickly) and puberty (!), and it can feel like an endless struggle.

    And, as others have said, medications are not the answer; they're part of the answer. They tend to give our kids a "biological pause" that enables them to think more clearly, rather than just reacting. The ideal is often a combination of medications and therapy.

    I'm not trying to discourage you; I'm just being realistic. I wish someone had helped me manage my expectations so I wouldn't have been so frustrated when I didn't get immediate results.

    Let us know how it goes!

  10. agee

    agee Guest

    Yes - this said it perfectly how some of the medications have worked for us.
    And I should have added to my response above that although some of these medications have worked for him in the past 3.8 years, they've also not worked. It's been a very frustrating process. Very.
    I don't want to seem like a big downer, but I've had my hopes up and down many times and now I'm finally realizing I need to work on ME and my reactions, as this is truly the only thing I have any control over...but still be a warrior mama as best I can.
  11. jal

    jal Member

    Your son sounds quite a bit like mine. The medication road for us has been a long haul.

    difficult child diagnosis'd with-ADHD at age 4. By this point we had to try something as difficult child already had been through 2 daycares and husband and I worked. Tried Metadate (stimulant). Horrible rages, destroyed preschool class room. Same psychologist said oh well he must be bipolar since he reacted so badly to the stimulant. Put difficult child on Risperdal to help with the rage/aggression. difficult child ended up having a physical side effect to that medication to we took him off of it and changed to a psychiatrist.

    First psychiatrist said he's just ADHD. Placed him on Ritalin. Never worked for him. She wouldn't listen to us that more was going on, just kept throwing prescriptions for stims at us. We dropped her.

    Next psychiatrist said he was bipolar and ADHD (bipolar history on husband's side, mother & aunt, but not husband). We trialed Lithium (didn't help), Depakote (stayed on for a while) added Abilify (could never go past 5 mg with-difficult child or he was get nasty). Once semi stable Dr. tried to get a handle on the ADHD. Adderrall, Vyvanse, Daytrana, Straterra and Tenex comb, guafacine, Dexedrine, Focalin you name it, we trialed it over a 2 year period. Every stimulant aggitated this kid.

    We did a medication wash under dr supervision, but towards the end difficult child became unstable and spent 3 weeks in a child psychiatric unit at a major ivy league hospital. They put him on Seroquel for mood) and Nortriptyline (a second generation anti-depressant), he did well for a small time, but I noticed itching and tics with it, and drooling. We got him off of Nortrptyline and it all stopped.

    After the psychiatric hospital stay we rallied and got in home services 2 times a week (n/c) and signed on with their psychiatrist as it was a lot closer and they took co-pays vs a long drive and cash straight out of pocket. That dr saw anxiety and added prozac. He has been on Seroquel and prozac for just over a year and is doing so much better. The prozac really opened him up to learning in school.

    I must also say that we've been at this for over 3 1/2 years with difficult child and he is only 7. His first neuropsychologist was at age 4. In first grade we made the decision to move him to a therapeutic school in 1st grade that our school district pays for. He recently had a second neuropsychologist this past summer as part of a consortium researching autism (we were thinking Asperger's, but it's not) and thorough testing from the school district last spring (they specifically brought in an expert and did not use their school pysch for testing).

    I really think the therapeutic supports (in our case) were key and the school setting has made a difference. Once he got there and settled in and with the addition of prozac at that time he began to learn his reading exploded and he is currently in 2 grade and functioning on a 4th grade level in math. They have just started to mainstream him (as his program is housed in a wing of a huge mainstream school) and it's going well enough that they are getting ready to add another mainstream class for him.

    The medication road is a HARD one as many here will atest to. Depending on what you are dealing with there is no quick fix for a lot of what our kids are dealing with. I hope too, like Smallworld said that you are able to get a working diagnosis before just jumping in to medications because things could get worse but whatever you decide good luck to you. Know that there are others out here.
  12. Loralyn

    Loralyn New Member

    Wow, such helpful information - thank you!

    It is hard to imagine that things could get worse.

    And can I ask, what is a medication wash?
  13. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    A medication wash is when you discontinue all the medications your difficult child is on and start all over again.