New medication for easy child and I'm afraid to give it to him.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Californiablonde, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    It took me many years to admit easy child is severe ADHD and to finally agree to put him on medications. His grades were suffering terribly so I decided to give it a go. He has been taking Focalin for several years now, and I am happy to say he is one of the lucky ones and has no side effects from it. He never became psychotic or delusional like my daughter did with her Adderall, he still has a healthy appetite, and there are no rebound symptoms when the medication wears off. He went from straight F's to straight A's within a month of starting this medication.

    Well now that he's older the Focalin isn't helping as much as it used to. He is taking the short acting version of the medication, and he is doing well in his morning classes, but the medication wears off mid afternoon and he is not doing too well in his afternoon classes. His new psychiatrist (had to stop seeing his pediatric neuropych in September because my work changed our insurance) has now prescribed Focalin XR. Supposedly this stuff last a lot longer in the system than the regular Focalin.

    I picked up the prescription this past weekend, and I am stil afraid to give it to him. I am worried he won't be able to sleep with it since it's longer acting, and I am worried he will suddenly stop eating (Even though his pediatrician says he needs to lose weight.) This week is finals week for him , and I am worried to try out a new medication during finals not knowing what kind of adverse reactions he may have. I have decided to give him his first dose next Monday, when finals are over and second semester begins. Still, I am worried he may not react well to it. Does anybody else have a child who takes a long acting form of a stimulant? If so, how do they do on it and what are some side effects to watch out for?
  2. 4Tall

    4Tall Member

    My older son takes Focalin XR and has been on it for several years. It really helps with his ADHD. It definitely impacts his appetite. On school days, he eats breakfast before taking the Focalin XR, otherwise he wouldn't eat. He isn't hungry for lunch and doesn't get hungry until around 7 pm. Then he is REALLY hungry.

    On the weekend he wakes up around 8 am to take the Focalin XR and a granola bar, then goes back to bed to sleep in.

    Last year he was doing some "rebounding" from 4 pm until he finally got hungry for dinner around 7 pm. The psychiatric did prescribe an afternoon dose of short-acting Adderal to counteract this. He has a diagnosis of bipolar, so he has always had some difficulty falling asleep at night & waking up in the morning. So I couldn't tell you if the Focalin XR affected his sleep.
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  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Normally, the XR version of a drug is the same chemical composition, but wrapped in a time-release structure. So, it is unusual to have an adverse reaction when staying with the same chemical compound.

    Still, I'm not sure I would start it the week of finals, either.
  4. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    mine takes the XR version and by around 4 we see it waning--our psychiatrist gives us a 10mg regular version as a booster for after school to use as needed.

    she's never had an issue with sleeping, and her appetite is decent....she has breakfast before taking it, lunch can be light, and dinner is a hearty meal.

    if you are nervous about it, start on a weekend so you have a few days to observe him.

    good luck!
  5. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I forgot to add the doctor is starting him out at 20 milligrams. Doesn't that seem high? I read online on several medical websites that the usual starting dosage for Focalin XR in adults in 10 milligrams. Now I'm worried he may be taking too much. And I'm sure the medication causes increased heart rate, and my son has PE at school and does a lot of running. Couldn't that make his heart rate go abnormally high? I'm still so afraid to give it to him!
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    what was the prior dose?
  7. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Ten milligrams.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    That would be normal. The effective time period is approximately double. It's a more smooth delivery than taking two doses 4 of 6 hours apart.
  9. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Thank you that makes me feel better.
  10. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Okay so far he has been doing well on the new medication. No side effects. But I have yet to try him on it on PE days. At our school PE is only three days a week, an hour and a half long each class. I know the PE teacher makes the kids do a lot of running. I am worried that since it's a stimulant, it will increase his heart rate to a deadly level and he could have a heart attack. Tomorrow he has PE. I am so afraid to give it to him, but I know I have to. Please somebody make me feel better about this!
  11. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Sorry, CB. I am coming late to this thread.
    How would this be different from the regular version? I mean, he was doing PE when he was on the regular version, was he not? Without ill effect.
    While the XR has twice as much the effective dose as before, it is not all delivered at once, like Insane says.

    It could be said, that at any one moment in time he would have the same or equal the amount of the medication in his system, because it is not all released at one time. If anything, the medication is regulated to not spike.

    That would be the way I would try to understand it. Or you could request he have light PE for the first few days, if you are afraid. Or best yet, you could wait and call the doctor until he is able to explain it until your concern is assuaged.

  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    CB, this is his same old medication in a form that slowly releases it. If the regular version did not cause heart problems then this time release version is VERY unlikely to cause heart problems.

    Some of your worry seems logical, and not starting a new medication during finals is wise, of course. Could some of your worry be more related to your anxiety issues latching on to another thing to stew about? When I have been in the grips of severe anxiety, almost every little thing that changed would trigger me badly. I had to learn to stop and ask myself if my worry was rational or just the anxiety talking. Sometimes just asking myself the question was enough to end my anxiety loop. Other times I had to use the exercises I learned from a therapist, from various books on anxiety that I read, and from my mom. Deep breathing, guided meditation, stretching, and even keeping a funny book with me to read a short story or chapter to divert my brain from the worry really helped me. You can get books about anxiety on your tablet, computer or in print form and you can learn other exercises that will help you manage the anxiety.

    I am Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) the medication helps your son. The longer acting version should not be a big change or cause side effects that the immediate release form didn't cause.
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  13. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    The reason why I'm still worried is that I used to give him the short acting version at 6:45 in the morning. He has PE at 10:10. By that time, a lot of the Focalin was already out of his system. With the new longer action version, he will have the full dose still in his system when PE comes around. On Monday will be the first time I will be giving him the Focalin XR on a PE day. I am worried still but I will do what I have to do.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Why would you be worried about Folacin in his system for PE? Just wondering, because I haven't heard of that being an issue.
  15. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    I am worried because Focalin is a stimulant and increases the heart rate. I have heard of horror stories of athletes collapsing on the field or in the gym and dying of sudden heart attacks. I am a born worrier, and I'm just paranoid that my son's heart rate may go up to a dangerous level with all the running the coach makes him do.
  16. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    . I have heard of horror stories of athletes collapsing on the field or in the gym and dying of sudden heart attacks.

    for the most part, those kids (people) have unidentified congenital heart defects and arrhythmias.

    they aren't generally random healthy focalin users.

    but if this is something you have great concern over, ask your dr to refer him for an used to be a common assessment for stimulant users.

    if this medication is working for him, you are doing a great disservice by letting him skip it on PE days....i presume like most schools, they have more classes than gym on those days.
  17. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    **EKG, not eeg :)
  18. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Focalin is a newer formulation of methylphenidate. And the dosage he is on is NOT high. Please discuss this with his doctor. If the doctor is concerned about this side effect, the doctor can write a letter requiring modifications to the PE class for your son.

    The way I tend to look at things, it's either a real problem, or it isn't a problem at all. So, why waste energy worrying about something that isn't a problem. And why waste time worrying about something that is a problem when you should just be doing something about it. First step is... find out if it's a problem.
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  19. svengandhi

    svengandhi Well-Known Member

    I am not familiar with Focalin but I did have a bad experience with my oldest son when we switched him from regular Adderall to Adderall XR. On the second day, I caught him in the bathroom trying to strangle his youngest brother. Oldest boy was about 15 at the time, youngest boy is 8 1/2 years younger. I tossed the XR and he was fine the next day. My doctor told me that my son's reaction was incredibly rare but we went back to short-acting twice a day. He's 25 now and is off medications.
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    That is majorly horrify. Thank goodness it is so far back in the rear view mirror and he is able to go without medications.