Friday, May 20, 2011

Update on Intuniv and my son's progress

Yesterday I took my son back to his doctor for his 6-month check up.
As a recap, in August of 2009 I had my oldest daughter {who was almost 12} and my son {who was 7} tested for ADHD at the Child Study Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
There were several issues that prompted my even going through this process, the most prominent being my son's emotional extremes when it came to time with his friends, corrections at home in behavior, sleep, etc.
Sure enough, my daughter was diagnosed ADHD-Inattentive Type with some dysgraphia and math problems manifesting themselves also.
My son was diagnosed as ADHD-Combined Type with moderate anxiety.  No dysgraphia and no depression.
Immediately, having a diagnoses from a professional who sees children with these issues on a daily basis was so helpful.
I did not feel pressured to be either of my children on medication but the doctor did go over with me some really wonderful interventions we could use at home.
Some of these included:  Family counseling {to learn better discipline techniques and a better family structure for these children, resources for finding educational help, books to read, nutritional interventions, etc.
Everyone in the office was so gentle and understanding and helpful, and it was a great experience for us.
I finally felt like I was talking to people who were not looking at me like I was crazy, sensitive, or a terrible mother!!
But after a couple months of changes at home, both in our homeschooling, diet, and discipline techniques, we still were having over-the-top issues with our son.
The most troubling aspect being we could tell he felt he was "different" and didn't like having ADHD because he really did not WANT to respond to things the way he did.
So at our follow-up, I spoke with the doctor about medication for him.
This was not an easy decision for me as I'm not a big fan of medications for children, especially when not necessary or when the side effects are worse than the initial problem!!
I went in with a list of things that I did not want:  stimulants or anti-depressants that cause appetite issues, mood swings, emotional problems, or that make the children feel like zombies!!
So the doctor suggested Intuniv.
It is NOT a stimulant.
It is not an anti-depressant.
And it has been wonderful for him!!
We started this in January of 2010, and the help was immediate and dramatic for him.
It takes the edge off of him, and he has been able to settle his body down enough to sit and learn.
Academically, he is finally progressing and enjoying learning.
He still gets upset and throws fits, but now his calm-down is less than HALF what it used to be.
He is "getting humor."
We {his dad and I} have been so happy with the improvement that we really feel like he has reached a good stable place.
Not perfect....still has issues....but we're seeing some consistency and that he is getting better.
So yesterday, I asked the doctor if our bi-annual visits were necessary anymore.
You see, our insurance doesn't cover one penny of these visits since they revolve around an ADHD diagnoses.
And at $190 a pop, that's really expensive for us.
He told us that if our pediatrician {who is only 5 minutes from our house} would write the prescription for his intuniv, then we could just switch everything over to him.
So, that's what I'm going to try to do.
Only catch......our insurance changes AGAIN on June 1.
{Have I mentioned before how I HATE to mess with insurance???  I'd rather be shot in the face!!}
If our new insurance has better coverage on these type of visits, then we may just continue driving the long distance and keeping up the relationship with that office in case things change dramatically for him when he hits puberty in a couple years!!
We do not need to change the dosage he is on {3 mg.}.
I asked the doctor what the cues are for needing to bump up to a 4 mg. tablet.
His response was when his progress began to deteriorate and he wasn't learning as well as he is now.
I also mentioned the issue of sleepiness and how I had heard that if they have no sleepiness AT ALL, EVER due to the medication, that may be a cue that a bump up is necessary.  Not that you want a tired child, but this medication tends to make them sleepy and you know it is working if they get a bit droopy occasionally in the afternoon.
If they are sleeping a LOT ALL the time, you may need to drop down the medication.
Overall, we had a good visit, and I left encouraged.
Hoping that we can transfer all this to our regular pediatrician now!!
Have to start making phone calls!


Anonymous said...

So glad you've had such good luck on Intuniv. Can you tell me--do you dose in the AM or PM?

Brenda said...

Our doctor instructed us to dose him first thing in the morning, and it has worked wonderfully well for us. He wakes up and hits the ground sprinting....which usually ends with him jumping on a sleeping sibling {yes, nice}. But once the medication is in his system {usually takes 15-20 minutes} the entire family seems to relax because it takes that hyper edge off of him.
Lasts all day for him and he's ready to sleep by bedtime.
Hope that helps.