Risperdal (risperidone)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by BellyKate, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. BellyKate

    BellyKate New Member

    Hi everyone.

    Wondering if any of you have had experience with Risperdal with your children? My daughter (5 years old) has been prescribed it, and there is a lot of negative (as well as positive) stuff out there about it. Naturally, I am feeling a little anxious and unsure, as she has never been medicated before.

    I would appreciate hearing anyone's thoughts or experiences.


    P.s. Marguerite, i tried to write to you a while back but you hadn't set up your profile to accept mail since the changes.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the board :) Just curious. Why is she being given it? We had a trouble with Risperdal, however it does help a lot of children. Is your child raging out-of-control?
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I know lots of parents have had success with Risperdal. For us it made our difficult child way too sleepy so it wasn't helpful.
  4. BellyKate

    BellyKate New Member

    Hi Midwest and Wiped Out.

    My girl has explosive outbursts over almost everything. I have daily threats, abuse both physical and verbal, running off, refusal to do anything; she gets hysterical if I breathe near her. I've been using the ideas and techniques from The Explosive Child but she is so angry about everything.

    She has mild Aspergers and ADHD. So far (she only just started big school a week ago) there is no real problem at school, which is why the psychiatrist didn't recommend Ritalin. Most of the problems happen after school and on weekends.

    She has a lot of trouble sleeping ~ not every night, but frequently.

    The Risperdal is arriving this week, and I suggested we start it on Friday night so that we have the weekend to see how she is doing.

    Of course, the start of school is a big ordeal for her. She is tired and her behaviour is worse at the moment. She refused to go on the third day. We had a a meeting with the Deputy Head, School Counsellor and Aspergers Teacher. They are very supportive ! A day or two after, we turned a corner. Now she goes willingly and is loving it. I am the first mum to leave the school in the mornings. So yaaay, that is indeed a big victory for us.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I definitely saw a difference when my difficult child started on Risperdal. She was overall more balanced, though we still have the major meltdowns and rages, but she's better able to keep friends and doesn't always wig out at every little thing.
  6. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    My child took it for about 9 months. It definately cut down the anger/agressiveness/outburts. We eventually moved on to something else due to excessive weight gain.....For a while, we were very happy with the benefits....good luck
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Hi Kate. I've been receiving messages from others, so I should be OK. I'm also heading north on the weekend, Newcastle by Friday night, Port Mac (Lighthouse) for my sister's birthday on Saturday night. If you're anywhere within coo-ee en route I'd love to say g'day and let you meet my success story (difficult child 3).

    Risperdal - I think you're making a wise choice waiting for the weekend. Did you have to pay a bomb for it, or did the doctor diagnose whatever psychiatric condition we have to, to prescribe it? Or maybe shrinks can prescribe it on PBS, but not paediatricians. It used to cost us over A$60 a box.

    We tried it with two kids - difficult child 1, and difficult child 3. They were also both on dexamphetamine at the same time (for the ADHD). While difficult child 1's ADHD was never a behaviour problem at school (they thought he was lovely, he was so quiet and well-behaved - and totally tuned out) he DID have problems with ups and downs with the medications, as well as a LOT of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) issues.
    difficult child 3 - behaviour problems that were partly ADHD, and a big part the autism and related social hassles (especially undirected activity, also unsupervised, at recess and lunch). Extreme anxiety issues also. Ups and downs from the medications, although by then we had put him on long-acting form (privately compounded).

    Outcome - difficult child 1 was incredibly sedated by even a tiny dose (quarter of a tablet evening only) and doubled his weight in six months. He went from a skinny kid to a tub of lard. And each evening he'd take his tablet and be sound asleep within half an hour. If he took it in the morning (which he did for a while) he would zonk out and not get any schoolwork done (he was Distance Ed by this stage, working towards Stage 1 of his HSC).
    difficult child 3 - took three times the amount of his big brother with no apparent problems. No sedation, no weight gain (well, none above what would be expected).

    Benefits - for both boys, benefits were mild. It seemed to smooth out difficult child 1's moods and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). difficult child 3 seemed more settled (but only marginally).

    Finally I was fed up with the huge cost with only minimal benefit, so I talked to the doctor abut stopping it for both boys to see what would happen.
    difficult child 1 stopped and his weight slowly came off. Not all, because he was now two years older and in his late teens. But his beer keg belly turned to a six pack.
    difficult child 3 - no apparent change coming off it, but by then he was Distance Ed and his anxiety was far less an issue for us (since we had reduced a lot of the causes for his anxiety by removing him from mainstream). But he lost weight - went from 40 Kg to 35 which scared the doctor. I think the weight loss was due to going off the risperdal, there must have been a weight gain factor for him after all. His weight has been stable since.

    All you can do is try it. People are different, I don't know how your girl will react. difficult child 1 now takes Zoloft and it seems to be calming his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) down better than anything (still not brilliant). He's tried weaning off it but the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) comes back too much so he stays on a low level. He'll prowl the house when he's going out (especially if he's the last one leaving it) and walk around checking doors and windows are locked and making sure he's packed everything he needs to - keys, wallet etc. Then he goes around again. And again. Until the clock says it's time to go, then he frets the whole time, "Did I lock all the windows and doors? Do I have my wallet?" etc.

    So if you have been advised to dose her in the evenings, begin Friday night. Make sure she has dinner first, in case it sedates her. Take notes, see how she is that evening and next day. And on Monday morning, pack extra lunch for her, for school.

    I'm surprised he's not trying stims, it could mean he's still not 100% confident of his diagnosis and is hoping risperdal alone will help enough. If he's wrong and it's not ADHD, stims could make other conditions worse. He's maybe just being careful and wanting to watch and wait. The violent outbursts may be what has him concerned there. Sensible. Although at her age, she is likely to have a very high level of frustration and impulsivity adding to the rest of the problems.

    See how she goes, I hope it does help enough for you to overcome some of the other issues.

    Nothing is a complete fix though.

  8. BellyKate

    BellyKate New Member

    Thanks for your posts everyone.

    I guess I just have to try it and see what happens. I have to get over the feeling that I am "drugging" my child, especially as sleepiness seems to be quite often a side effect. And I do worry about weight gain. But if the side effects are too much and last too long and outweigh the benefits then I'll just take her off it. I have to remind myself that we aren't trying this for NO reason...

    Hi Marguerite. I tried to message you just after the website changed and it wouldn't even let me send a message until I changed my options in my profile. Maybe it was just an initial thing that didn't last long. Will mail you after this with a plan to catch up on the weekend !

    The psychiatrist appointment was set up through the psychologist, through community health. The Psychologist was in Sydney, he works at the Children's Hospital, and the appointment was done through video/phone link so that we could see each other. He thinks, since so far things aren't too bad at school, that Ritalin etc would be wasted since it wears off by the afternoon and the big problems are afternoon and evening and weekends. If she were still home everyday then we would have tried one of the stimulants. If things go downhill with school with the ADHD then we will try a stimulant. Her explosiveness and the way she treats other kids and friends is an all the time thing, though. So far, concentration in class isn't too bad. She told me she is asked to pay attention quite a bit though.

    The psychologist said Risperdal is very expensive unless he writes the script and couriers the Risperdal to me. It is apparently a great deal cheaper that way. I don't fully understand that but if it's cheaper that way I am happy ! Don't know how much it will be yet.
  9. tammyjh

    tammyjh New Member

    My daughter was on it a few times. We did see her moods stablize for about a month and then her irritability was back. We played with the dosage a little but it didn't make any difference. The biggest side effect for her was weight gain. She did get sleepy on it but that effect wore off after the first 3 or 4 days. We waited a couple yrs. and tried it again to see if we might get lucky with it again but it didn't help. I know it really works well for some but not for others. If you try it, good luck!!:D
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Hi BellyKate. I'm a moderator on the forum here for the 5 and under set and what I'm hearing from parents is that this is a good starting place for medications. Response to medications is very individual among children but I've heard far fewer reports of wild reactions with this medication than many of the others that are trialed. It's also a medication that has been singled out for study by one of the bigger US research universities in children with Autism. If I had a young child with the issues you're describing who'd reached the point of needing medications, I'd consider starting trialing this one.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It sounds like a good plan. And the courier option - grab it. It should bring the cost down to PBS prices (plus courier, of course). As for waiting with the stims - it means you are observing each drug one at a time, instead of wondering which in the package could be bringing the benefit.

    I'm glad you're 'in' with Sydney Children's (not sure if it's POW or Westmead - both have VERY good clinics/staff). At some point you may need to travel down there. They both have a Ronald McDonald House you can try to get into, if that's the case.

    Here's hoping it settles the aggression a bit. You should know fairly quickly. The sedation possibility - it should have stabilised after a few days, maybe a week. By then, WYSIWYG. In terms of settling her - you should see that VERY fast, hopefully same day.

    I PMed you back. Fingers crossed.

  12. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Risperdal was/is a very good medication for my son. He's been on it since he was 6 or 7. We definitely saw a decrease in the severity and frequency of his rages in pretty short order - I want to say a week or so? It was definitely most effective when he was younger. Around age 9 he became more unstable than usual and we tried other antipsychotics - Zyprexa, Seroquel, I think there were a couple others in there - and none ever had the beneficial effect that Risperdal did. We ended up coming back to the Risperdal, but he's at a much lower dose than when he was younger.

    The weight gain is a pretty common side effect. At one point, thank you was on a whopping 8 mg a day and he also had some weird neuro side effects (eyes rolling up so that it looked like he was staring at the ceiling) but again, he was on a really *monster* dose at that point. At lower doses, no side effects (other than the appetite, which was something we could live with compared to the raging).

    I hope you have a positive experience with it.
  13. BellyKate

    BellyKate New Member

    Thanks to you all for posting your experiences ! It helps a lot.

    I read that there haven't been many trials done on Risperdal for children. I find that a little worrying.

    I'm in a whole new world here, and I find my conflicting feelings confusing.

    But your experiences really help to put me at ease. Thanks.