Saturday, March 24, 2012

Prayers please? Final "Intuniv" update.....

I can't believe that it has been nearly 11 months since my last post about our journey with the ADHD medication Intuniv.
You can read that post here for a little history about why my husband and I decided to try this tool with our oldest son to help us as we endeavor to raise our children for the glory of God!!

As I mentioned in that last post, by May of 2011 we felt that our visits to the prescribing doctor had reached a point that we were just maintaining, and at $140 a visit (our insurance doesn't cover anything ADHD related, of course) we felt we could transfer back to our primary pediatrician just for prescription refills.
It took me several months to do that (life comes at ya quick here at our house!), and we went in to visit him by November.
At that point my son was still on the 3 mg. dose of Intuniv.
I had noticed though that just about when we started school up in September that our son was really struggling.
Sitting down at the table to do his seat work was nearly impossible.
He couldn't be dragged away from whatever it was that he was engrossed in (usually a computer/video game) without a major meltdown.
When he finally did get to the table, he was still mouthy and upset, which is disruptive to my other children who actually WANT to learn.
I was trying some new curriculums and routines, so I wanted to give it some time all the while continuing with his current dosage.
By late fall, I had to do something different.
Nothing was helping, and I was hating homeschooling.
So I took him to see his pediatrician (who wanted an updated physical on him), and hoped to discuss an increase to the 4 mg. dose (which is the highest dose available in that particular medication).
I love our pediatrician, but he sat with me for nearly 30 minutes going over each and every ADHD medication currently available and how each and every one works in the brain.
He finally recommended Focalin.
I thanked him for his time, but told him I really just wanted to continue on the Intuniv (since we had so much success in the beginning) but at the higher dosage to see if that would meet his needs.
I told him that I felt Grant had grown physically over the summer and that I wanted to see if the higher dosage was what he needed.
He mentioned something to me that I had NEVER heard, and am putting here for those who might be considering it for a child of their own:
"This drug (Intuniv) is not usually used as a stand-alone treatment.  It's usually used in combination with another medication."
I didn't understand why I hadn't read that anywhere or been advised about that in the 2 years we'd been using it, but I told him I still wanted to just give the 4 mg. a itself.
He wrote out the prescription and I filled it that afternoon.
But something strange happened.
With the 3 mg. dose, we gave him his pill first thing in the morning and noticed a softening of his edges almost immediately......usually within 30 minutes.
Not with the 4 mg.
I watched him for several weeks......
If I gave it to him first thing in the morning, we didn't notice ANY calming in him until around 2 in the afternoon.
It hardly did any good for me in relation to our schooling.
By then, I was done.
He was very cooperative (usually) at bedtime and slept all through the night (usually), but our mornings were so stressful.
I wondered what would happen if I gave his medication at 12 AM, and sure enough...he was much quieter and calmer when he first got out of bed (between 7:30 and 8:00 am) and through the morning.
I called the doctor's office and asked them if that seemed normal, and they said it was how his body absorbed that particular drug and that that would be hard to keep up.
So they suggested I just give it to him at his bedtime (around 10 pm).
The benefits of this were not out-weighing the trouble it was becoming.
All-in-all, his behavior was not what it used to be when we first started this 2 years ago, and it was becoming clear to me that he had just outgrown it.

I felt it would be best to just stop it all together since it didn't seem to be working for us.

But it took me awhile to accept this and to figure out what we were going to do NOW!!
I was drawn to trying the Focalin because I've heard good things about it, but frankly, I'm fearful of the long-term and short-term side affects of stimulant medications.
Focalin is just a stripped down version of Ritalin, which supposedly gives you all the good benefits of Ritalin without the bad side affects.
I just don't have peace about that yet.
Since our family has been on health journey in the last year or more, I've been exposed to the benefits of chiropractic and nutrition therapy......especially for children with ADHD.
So when Grant took his last Intuniv on Wednesday of this last week, I took him to a chiropractor/nutritionist on Thursday.

That is the route we've decided to try with him for now.
So currently, he hasn't been taking any medication, and frankly it isn't a whole lot different than when he was taking the 4 mg. of Intuniv.

It's a little scary, but I'm cautiously hopeful.
Hopeful, that this idea of "(Letting) your food be your medicine" and the health found in a better diet, and a more natural approach to managing health issues will work for us.

We still homeschool, try to be more proactive and calm in our discipline techniques, try to keep some semblence of structure in our home, and all the other things the experts tell you that children with ADHD need.
Of course, the mind-numbing amount of discipline and consistency you MUST have as a parent is very difficult to maintain every. moment. of . the. day.
But we are also trying to remember to live by the grace that our Heavenly Father lavishes on us every day.
That our children need to experience that grace as well to really have a firm understanding of what that means......that His love cannot be earned, that messing up is a part of life, and that forgiveness and redemption is the pivotal part of that story!!

Please pray for us?


amanda h said...

Have you tried limiting artificial food dyes? Some children are sensitive to them and it can magnify their ADHD symptoms. Red and yellow seem to be the most common culprits but every child is different. You might try checking the labels on the food he normally eats and try eliminating one dye color at a time and see if you notice a difference .

Brenda said...

Hi Amanda!!
Yes!! We certainly have and still do. Changing our diet was one of the very first modifications we made in our home when we first received his diagnosis in August of 2009. That began an amazing journey to a much healthier lifestyle for our entire family. If you're interested, you can read about that on my post here:

and here as well:

I've posted more about some of the things we've learned about nutrition for ADHD and some recipes we've tried under the label "Nutrition for ADHD" in the right hand side bar of this blog!!

Thanks so much for your thoughts!!

Anonymous said...

We ended up giving my son his dosage of intuniv in 2mg at night and 2mg in the a.m. He metabolizes fast and this helped with the 24 hour coverage. Each child is so different. However, even with this dosing schedule we are seeing its effectiveness wear off with our son as well. We do the Feingold Diet, fish oil and probiotics as well, but maintaining a healthy diet, sleep schedule, etc. is so hard with someone who is oppositional. You will be in my prayers! I'll watch for updates. jennifer Distefano

Anonymous said...

We pray for all the Broughs and am so happy to see the Lord's hand at work in your life! Love, Rachel Johnson