Thursday, March 18, 2010

A few observations since starting Intuniv....

1. My 7 yr. old son has been taking Intuniv (medication prescribed especially to help manage the symptoms of ADHD) since January 14 of this year. We're up to 3 mg. once a day. He takes a full pill first thing in the morning.

2. I've been asked what some of our cues have been that this is the right dosage for him. Intuniv is prescribed in 1 mg., 2 mg., 3 mg., or 4 mg. pills. If or when we ever have to bump up to the 4 mg., that is the highest level of the medication available. From what I've researched, most children do best at 3 or 4 mg., while some respond well at a lower dose. For us, we noticed very little effect at 2 mg., and a tremendous effect at 3 mg. You take each level of medication for one week before you can bump up to the next level. For us, it took a little over three weeks to notice a measurable change in our son's behavior. We saw little things, like sleepiness in the afternoon, but it would wear off after a couple days on the higher dosage. One place I read (here) confirmed one of the cues we noticed in our son: if he lays down to watch TV around 4 pm, he is still likely to dose off for about a half hour or so and it will not affect his sleep at night. In fact, I still give him half of a 3 mg. pill of melatonin just before bedtime to help him relax and sleep better. He's usually asleep within 20-30 minutes. When he doesn't get the melatonin, there is much more horse-play in the bed with his little brother and it takes him longer to fall asleep, though he sleeps well all night.

3. Another cue we've had is that he still will sit cooperatively with me in the morning time and complete a couple of workpages neatly before he needs a few minutes break. When he gets upset about something, his "calm-down" time is still much shorter than before the Intuniv, and my husband thinks that some things that used to set him off are no longer causing him an issue. I have also observed that he plays outdoors with the neighborhood children for much, MUCH longer than he used to before running in crying that somebody was teasing him.

4. A couple weeks ago, my husband purchased an Xbox gaming system for the family. The first day we had it, my son was off-the-charts irritable. It's almost like you can feel how it makes his brain go haywire with all the stimulation, and then he can't stop without getting livid. So we learned QUICK that we had to put some kind of controls in place right away. The next day I told him he couldn't play the Xbox until 4 pm when all the schoolwork was done and chores were done. It has worked beautifully. I've tried letting him have time earlier in the day on Saturdays, but it's back to the same crazy behavior. When he plays games with his Dad, he does much better too. This past Monday, he had had some extra time on the Xbox because Monday is usually our day off/clean-up/catch-up day. I thought since Dad was home and he had extra down time, we would try letting him have a little time. Nope. Super huge meltdown in the afternoon full of ranting and raving and disturbing the whole family. I promptly grounded him from the Xbox for a full week, and remarkably he hasn't asked to get on today nor did he argue about this penalty either.
I don't know how this medication works, but it definitely takes the edge off of him without making him crazy moody or have serious appetite changes or any other side effects at all.
I told my husband the other day that we are so fortunate that ALL our son has to take is one little pill and it really helps him. I know some children have to be on several different kinds of medication for several different issues, and we don't take for granted that this has really been a positive step toward returning the harmony and peace to our home.

5. The last thing that I have observed is that the cute little tic my son had going on with his left eye winking when he was in highly stimulated activities has virtually disappeared. We used to see it every day at different times of the day under different circumstances (whether when being corrected or highly agitated or nervous), now we RARELY see it. When I do notice it, it's when he's been playing the Xbox for over 1/2 an hour. I don't know if the decrease in the tic is because of something the medication does to control that, or if being on the medication has helped him see that what used to be stressful to him isn't stressful anymore. Either way, it's something that we consider a great thing for him.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Derrick Willis I wanteds to give you a heads up on my doughter taking intuniv. About 4 months ago my little girl was hospitalized from takining intuniv she was diegnosed with medical induces pyschosis which lead to her being put in a mental hospital.
Bad Drug

michelle martinez said...

HI DERRICK I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE ANY INFO AND A FOLLOW UP FROM WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR LITTLE GIRL I HAVE A DAUGHTER THAT WAS DIAGNOSED FIRST WITH ADHD THEN WITH ODD MY GUT TELLS ME IT IS SOMETHING BIGGER THAN THAT, WE STARTED HER ON INTUNIV AND SHE DID AWESOME I MEAN FROM A 1 TO A 9 AND THEN INSURANCE WANTED HER TO TRY TENEX AND SHE DID NOT DO NEARRLY AS WELL THEN WE PUT HER BACK TO INTUNIV AND SHE SEEMED TO DO BETTER FOR A SHORT PERIOD IT IS STILL BETTER THAN WITH OUT SO I DONT KNOW IF IT IS BECAUSE WE SEEN HER GO FROM A 1 TO A 9 THEN BAC TO A 6 AND WHEN U SEE A 9 A 6 FEELS LIKE A 1, I HAVE EVEN UPPED THE DOSE FROM A 1 MG TO 2 MG THEN TO 1 AND A HALF BUT IT DOESNT SEEM TO HELP AND THE MEDICINE FOR HER WORKS IMMEDIATLEY, SHE JUST SEEMS ANGRY ALL THE TIME AND SAD AND IM REALLY AT A LOSS I FEEL SO HELPLESS AND SHE IS ONLY 10, PLEASE TELL ME ANYTHING ANY INFO YOU HAVE WOULD GREATLY BE APPRECIATED THANKS MICHELLE

Tracy said...

Hi, Michelle. My little girl is also 10 and was diagnosed with adhd, then ODD, and also GAD. the psych said that it is basically like: the brain is processing "this way" and then she has these things (adhd and possibly odd) as a result of or as a coping skill to get through the frustrations she lives with in her mind. We are at a loss for dealing with the ODD, but I will say that having the lexapro for her GAD (only 5mg/night) has made brought her back to the happy, hopeful little girl she used to be. The ODD is still there in her dealings with her father and I, but I believe that is a reaction to our familial issues. We have been working on these as a family, but again, the anxiety and sadness have dissipated by treating them separately. Goo luck with your baby...Tracy

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is John. My son Johnathan was taking Intuniv (1, 2, 3MG) for nearly 8 months and per his teachers and coaches NO changes or improvement with is lack of focus, staying in his seat, etc. And he was (and still is) going to weekly (now bi-weekly) pro counseling. At that point his Dr. pulled him off Intuiv (stating that if we have no changes in 8 months we most likely will never with this med) and is now on Folin. Within 3 weeks, his teachers approached me proactively and commented on how much he has improved. Been on Foclin now for five months and things going very well. Hope this helps!!
John

Brenda said...

Hi John!
Thank you so much for your comment. I'm about to write another post which will give yet another update on our experience with Intuniv. I appreciate what you said about the Focalin. We've seen a digression in the Intuniv really helping our son with his focus, and in talking with our pediatrician about this, he recommended a switch to the Focalin. I've also been talking to another friend of mine who's ADHD daughter takes Focalin with great success. You're another voice getting my attention about this! Again, thank you so much for commenting!!
Brenda

Anonymous said...

Be careful w folcalin it seems like the best, but honestly after 3 months of my son being on it he started halucinating having.confusion of where he was at!! Make sure u watch him carefuly. We had to stop it

Brenda said...

Thank you so much, Anonymous, for sharing your experience with Focalin. We're taking our son off the Intuniv simply because we are seeing no benefits anymore. Today, I'm taking him to a nutritionist/chiropractor to see what help she can offer us. I'm hesitant to start another drug, and I appreciate what you had to say!!

Amy King said...

Hi Brenda,
I am sad to hear you are taking your son off Intuniv, especially after it seemed it was helping him so much. Also, because it makes me scared for my son as well. My 7 1/2 yr old has been on 2mg for almost a year and a half and it was working so well, but lately seems to not be working so well anymore. My Pediatrician said he probably needed an increase, but every time we try to go up to the 3mg (which we've tried three times now over the past 4 months) my ds gets VERY emotional and doesn't sleep well.
I'm at a loss as to what to do, b/c he was on Focalin for a year and we stopped it this past April b/c it was making him agitated and irritable. Worked great for a year, though.
Unfortunately, this is the story I hear a LOT about ADHD drugs. Work great in the beginning, then the side effects kick in, or they just stop working. I hate it for my son! He is so SWEET and wonderful! But so very impulsive and hyperactive and cannot focus. So frustrating because you want the best for your kids and I can already see his self esteem dwindling. I hate seeing that. He doesn't deserve this!

"sigh"
Amy

Brenda said...

Hi Amy!!
Oh, but we didn't!!
Please see the updates here:
http://brenda-lifeinmyshoes.blogspot.com/2012/05/going-off-intunivepic-fail-update.html

And more reccently on September 22!! Thanks you for sharing!
Breda