side effects of Strattera??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ksm, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    my difficult child has been on it all summer and I wonder if things are worse (mood wise) than before. difficult child has always been difficult and moody and stubborn, but the last few months she has taken it all to a new level. I will call the office that prescribes it tomorrow - but I just was wondering if all these outbursts might be related to the medication. School starts in a week - and I was really hoping that the Stratera would help her concentrate and follow thru in school better.

    Two nights ago we got the back packs out and school supplies and the list of supplies for her and younger sis. Well, they had never emptied out the back pack from the end of school, so we had a big mess in the family room. Even after she had emptied the back pack - she took forever to put 3 notebooks, 2 pkgs of lined paper, pencils, pens, colored pencils, high lighter and eraser in the bag. I wonder if she has some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) going on. First she had to rewrite the list of supplies inside a spiral notebook. I tried to take the extra items back to the basement where we store extra supplies and she started screaming that I messed things up. I couldn't touch any of the extra supplies and put them away. I bet she was "working" on packing the back pack for almost two hours. It was exhausting - I just wanted to put the supplies in the bag, zip it up, and tell her to go have fun. It was bedtime by the time she was done.

    Today, another meltdown. I had asked that before I took them swimming at the Y, to do three things... hang up the towels in their room, put dirty clothes in the hamper, and put several new items of clothes away. It should have taken 5 minutes. After an hour, they announced they were ready to go. I walked in the room, and while it looked better, everything was shoved under her bed. Damp towels, dirty clothes and the new jeans I had bought her for school. She went in to full meltdown, wouldnt calm down, screamed "everyone would be better off if I was dead".

    So I am curious if Strattera could be making things worse? Oh, and the psychological testing that was scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed... because insurance hasn't OK'd it yet!! I called the pediatrician and can't get in til next week. I don't know if he can get us the referral to the neuropsychologist that I found. I really like the therapist we see - but - he attends our church and I don't think J will ever open up and be very honest with him about her feelings. I think she wants everyone to think everything is all right... and she would see him at church on Sunday. I don't think he has a problem with seeing us at church - but J definitely does. It was OK when we were just discussing her feelings about her bio mom... but sharing about her rages... NOPE. Sorry this is so long. Just don't know what to do. KSM
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Has it been getting progressively worse since the Stratera was started, or does it look more to you like anxiety over school starting?
  3. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Most of the summer has been bad... I just hadn't thought about the Strattera... KSM
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'd talk to the doctor about it then. Might be wrong medication, might be wrong dose, might be a lot of things. Has she been eating differently than during the school year? Lots of things to consider, but if she's doing worse talk to doctor. If she has an IEP her school should be more understanding, but a heads-up might be good, too.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I know a lot of people who have had trouble with their kids on Straterra. Yes, it CAn make a child worse. Straterra is a SNRI antidepressant and all antidepressants can mess with kids. In fact, I don't know any child who was helped by it so I'd definitely question it.
  6. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    My difficult child has been on it for 6 years. It has been very good for us but that's just us. I've heard it's kind of an all or nothing thing.
  7. keista

    keista New Member

    Was she like this last summer? Was she on anything then?

    Part of the warning for Strattera (Atomoxetine)

    I don't have personal experience with this one, have had experiences with 'wrong medications', so go with your gut. if YOU think her behavior is worse, then it's very likely that it's the medicine - assuming you've already ruled out 'regular summer behavior'
  8. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

  9. keista

    keista New Member

    When does school start? Are you all willing to wait it out to see if it is going to work for her at school?

    The harsh reality is that this medication might actually be good for at school, but also be causing more problems at the same time. I recently had a similar experience with DD1. She was put on Paxil, and it worked like a DREAM! Her anxiety became almost non-existent. HOWEVER, she started having new symptoms - odd dissociative type episodes. But when she wasn't having an episode it still seemed to be working great. I decided to take her off of it.

    The other option would have been to try and medicate these new symptoms - essentially medicate the medication. For DD1 that was not an option, but it may be an option for you and J. I honestly don't know. Check with the psychiatrist, and go with your gut.

    I've also come to the conclusion that summer is not really a great time to test medications, unless we're thinking one medication for summer, and a different medication for school. Since summer schedules are so different, it's like comparing apples and oranges.
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Straterra isn't an "all or nothing" drug, but it isn't always "enough"... as in, if the kids brain needs a heavy-duty boost, S might not do it.
    We've been told its possible to use S + other stuff, to get more effect with less side-effects - but I don't know what the combinations are, we haven't gone that route.
  11. remclick

    remclick Guest

    We stopped using Strattera for my son several years ago. I ran out and it didn't seem to be helping very much and then we started to notice that he was a happier child without it. He has the ADHD component and a mood component to his troubles and I think sometimes the mood trumps the hyperactivity. I would rather see him happy and wild than cranky and calm. It's hard to see them so irritable all the time. We went on to other ADHD medications and have tried a few mood stabilizers too over time.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    difficult child 3 was tried on Strattera and lasted only a few days. His behaviour deteriorated, he became very irritable to the point of violence - he physically attacked me, we were at a friend's place for a Christmas party. I calmed him down enough to get him stable, but all the way home in the car he was arguing with us (that bit is normal!) but not making a lot of sense. He was literally talking/arguing in circles and we had to keep saying, "We will discuss this in the morning after we've all had some sleep."
    By this stage husband had realised that the medications were almost certainly a factor, so we did not haul off and ream him a new one.

    When we got home I called the hospital ER, they said to bring him in. But given the time of night (about 1 am at this stage) and our remote location (it would have taken us 40 minutes to get to the hospital and then hours and hours of waiting while more urgent cases were seen first) I felt letting us all get some sleep was preferable. With hindsight, I should have gone to the hospital with him.

    Next day (having cut out the Strattera) difficult child 3 did not want to talk about it, but we insisted - he had accused us the night before of trying to get out of ever discussing it, so we insisted we talk. He was feeling very ashamed and embarrassed, the events of the previous night were not clear to him. He remembered being angry but could not remember why.

    This year we have had problems with another medication - another kind of antidepressant. difficult child 3 just seems to have problems with drugs in this group and we're getting increasingly gun-shy.

    The reason difficult child 3 was put on Strattera, was because he has symptoms of ADHD, and also anxiety. The specialist had thought that the anxiety was likely to be getting made worse by the stimulant medications. Since then I have given it a great deal of thought and I believe that in Aspie kids with ADHD, the anxiety is aggravated MORE by them not being able to concentrate, or cope. The stimulant medications help calm these kids because (at least in part) they feel more capable of coping.

    There are many factors in how a kid responds to things, and sometimes doctors don't consider the whole picture.

  13. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    The fussiness over food, we went through with our two youngest. difficult child 3 and easy child 2/difficult child 2 could have been Jack Spratt and his wife - "Jack Spratt could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean." The point being that although what they ate never matched up, between them they would eat everything.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 would only eat things with a smooth, creamy texture. difficult child 3 would refuse to eat anything smooth and creamy.

    To a certain extent I did cater to them - if I knew, for example, that a kid would want a lot of mashed potato, I'd make extra. I would also insist on everyone getting their share before any kid got seconds. Of as in our house - difficult child 3 prefers his potato not mashed, so I would remove his pieces from the pot first then mash what was left. Or if I'm cooking roast vegetables, I will roast everything, including carrot. But my girls don't like cooked carrot, so I would give them raw carrot. difficult child 3 eats carrot peelings. So when I peel the carrots, I peel them into a bowl then give him the bowl. Eating chicken - difficult child 3 will do his best to eat the bones too.

    Vegetables - easy child 2/difficult child 2 was the fussiest (still is). But she will (now) make soup.

    With your daughter and lettuce, there are very different flavours depending on what kind of lettuce and the colour of the leaves. easy child 2/difficult child 2 won't eat mignonette lettuce (leaves too dark, therefore too bitter for her) but also won't eat lettuce heart (too mild a taste). She will eat some cos as long as the leaves are pale. But generally it has to be iceberg.

    Something we did with difficult child 3 - it was SIL1, actually, while we were on holiday overseas. He got difficult child 3 to have a taste (of course we didn't force anything we knew he didn't like) and to tell us what he liked about it and what he didn't. He did not have to eat any more if he didn't want to, but he did have to tell us his opinion, and why. That actually helped him identify his own problem foods, as well as learn that we wouldn't force him to eat something he didn't like, but we didn't want him to miss out on something potentially yummy.
    His routine for a taste test - he would have a glass of some strong-tasting liquid (orange juice, for example) and take a very small bite of the sampling food. He then could, if he felt he needed to, grab a mouthful of his drink to get the taste out of his mouth.

    After doing this for the three weeks we were away, difficult child 3's diet had expanded considerably. We ate out a few times, and there were even a couple of times when difficult child 3 ate the biggest meal on the menu and polished off the lot. AND had dessert. He loved the fact that he could ask the waiter to modify his meal - "I'd like fries instead of mashed potato, and please do not give me any gravy or sauce."

    Any kid who complains about my cooking, gets offered the chance to do the job. But they also have to shop for the ingredients, budget for them (lobster thermidor is tasty but will blow an entire week's budget on one meal) and make sure it all happens when it should (should not be serving up dinner at 10 pm) and that it meets all tastes and dietary guidelines. NOT an easy job!

  15. BeachPeace

    BeachPeace Guest

    Strattera is the only medication my daughter Indigo can tolerate.
    She has tried a wide variety of stimulants and they all make her agitated/aggressive.
    However, I think it works for her by kicking her anxiety/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) behaviors down a notch - she is not "really" ADD/ADHD - just pretty typical Asperger's.
    We do notice that we have to keep "dose chasing" - as in about every 6-12 months she will get really irritable and anxious and need to increase.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    KSM, I just went back and re-read your first post.

    Something jumped out at me - while Strattera may or may not be a part of the problem, she is obviously on it because there were problems before. And what you described in terms of difficulty complying with what seem to us to be simple tasks - I think she has problems multi-tasking. We had this big time with difficult child 1. He's grown up learning to find his own ways of coping, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) actually cane become a coping skill. He takes Zoloft now, to help keep his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) under control. We tried to cut his Zoloft back a few years ago and we watched him getting ready to go out. He was ready a little early, so he checked to make sure he had his wallet and car keys. Then he checked that he had locked the doors and windows. By this point he wasn't sure if he had his wallet and keys, so he checked them again. Yes. But had he locked up the house? Let's check. And so on, round and round, over and over, until it was time to go. As he drove down the road it was preying on his mind - had he locked up the house?

    When difficult child 1 was little, we had to give him instructions in writing, or one step at a time. An example - we were having dinner with friends and difficult child 1 asked to go to the toilet. The host said, "It's through that door, down the hall to your right, third door on the left."
    difficult child 1 went to the door and paused. "Which way again?"
    He headed that direction and came back. "I forgot which door number."
    So we led him there by the hand. Once he had walked the path, he was fine. He took himself to the toilet later that evening with no problems.

    Again we noticed this when he was packing for camp. When he had a written list of what to take, he was fine. But he had to stick to that list exactly, or he got upset.

    We got a small blackboard and used it to give difficult child 1 his instructions. I have learned to leave notes. Even with difficult child 3 now, who has always been much better than his brother at multi-tasking, I leave notes. "While I'm out, work on your Chemistry sheets. Then for lunch re-heat the lasagne for 3 minutes on Medium. After lunch get back to Chemistry. When you finish that, begin on Physics. After 3.30 pm, change the food and water in the henhouse. Any phone calls - write down who rang and what number to call them back on."

    A problem we found with difficult child 1 especially, was his problem with making choices. We saw this when he had an essay to write, school notes to take or even just decide what to eat. In making choice A, he was immediately excluding all other choices. And especially when this related to information, that meant he had to make a value judgement on the value of Choice A over other choices. He was often paralysed by indecision and the responsibility of having to choose.

    This responds fastest to support, and slowest to criticism. It is made worse by anxiety, and anything you do (no matter how reasonable in your eyes) that heightens their anxiety, makes the problem worse.

    Does this seem to fit?

  17. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Marg, I guess I always thought of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as people who were neat and tidy. Which she isn't. But I guess there might be some components of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She doesn't take well to me trying to show her a faster/better way to do things. I finally got a call back from the nurse in the PRNA's office (I think that is her initials...) Anyway, they are working her in tomorrow afternoon. It didn't sound like they were too happy that we decided to stop the Srattera - but the last two days have been much better. She even said she didn't feel so agitated. I'll try to post tomorrow evening after the appointment. Thanks for your thoughts. KSM
  18. keista

    keista New Member

    Oh, that's just one form of it. Ever hear of hoarding? (two shows on TV about it) that is a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Another misinterpreted version is perfectionism. People just assume that a perfectionist wants everything, and therefore make everything perfect. Not exactly true. Perfectionists do indeed want everything perfect, but if they think they can't do something perfectly, then they don't do it at all. Essentially they suffer from a fear of failure, so don't even bother trying.

    My son was a very obvious example of this. One day he was very severely language delayed (expressive), and the next, he was right on target with his peers. the difference was his frenectomy. He couldn't talk properly, so he wouldn't talk at all. After his surgery, I couldn't shut the kid up!
  19. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    We had the appointment with the PRNA, and instead of treating the ADD, they are going to treat the anxiety. She has been on Fluoxetine for one school year about 5 or 6 years ago, so we are going to go back on that. She was doing so well, we thought we would try school without it. We will start taking it tomorrow. Hope this helps! KSM
  20. keista

    keista New Member

    Hope it helps too!