Thursday, May 3, 2012

Going off Intuniv......epic fail!! {An update}

So over a month ago, I posted a blog here titled "Final Intuniv Update" chronicling
our plans to take our 10 year old son off his ADHD medication.
The plan was to take him off of it because we just weren't seeing the benefits of it anymore,
and we were going to try a more natural approach to managing his ADHD.
Well, it didn't go quite as we had planned.

Here's the story.
Since last December we just weren't seeing that Grant's dose of daily Intuniv was helping him at all.
It took a couple months of trial and error and trying to figure out the next plan before we made our move.
When we were down to his last pill I called a chiropractor I had gotten excellent reviews about, 
and fortunately she was able to get me in the next day.
I have done a lot of research and reading and listening to other families stories of managing children with ADHD, and I had heard good things about chiropratic having good benefits!

So we decided that before we refill his current prescription for Intuniv or switch to another ADHD medication that we would give chiropractic a try.
The first thing Dr. Taylor said to me when she sat down in front of Grant and I was, "How can I help change your life?"
That was such a loaded question for me that it made me very emotional.
We talked about all we've been through with Grant and where we are now, and she agreed that she might be able to help him.
She explained a particular technique to me that I was completely unfamiliar with, but was willing to try.
So we returned the following week for his first treatment with her.
She used something called the Koren Specific Technique.
It is completely non-invasive and Grant tolerated it very well.
We did this for about 3 weeks.
Dr. Taylor also gave me a couple books for read about diet and ADHD children, and we discussed some supplements that might be helpful for him (DHA, DMAE, Magnesium, etc.).
But after a month of treatments, the changes in Grant were so minuscule that my husband was wondering
if the expenditure was really worth it.
He was not against what we were doing.
The difficult thing about choosing more natural alternatives for managing health conditions compared to traditional medical interventions is the time it takes to see improvements.
When we took Grant off his Intuniv, our pediatrician surprisingly told me that it was fine to take him off cold-turkey.
That was the very first time I had heard that.

The doctor who prescribed Intuniv to us was sure to go over and over with us that he HAD to be weaned off this drug due to the potential affects it might have on his blood pressure.
But I didn't want to spend another $70 for a 2-3 pills just to wean him off.

taking him off cold turkey was miserable for ALL of us!
He was intolerable (hyper, impulsive, making annoying noises, conflict with siblings, crying, irritable, etc.), and by Sunday was begging me to get his pills back.
When we saw the chiropractor the next day, she agreed with me that we all clearly needed some peace and rest in our home and that she could "work around" his medication.
Honestly, I was relieved to hear that.
It was like I needed someone's permission or agreement that we were making a good decision here.
So he's back on it.
(And when I picked up the prescription I made a point of quizzing the pharmacist on how to come off of this medication and she agreed that it needs to be weaned down!!  Keeping that in mind for next time!)
He's taking a liquid vitamin supplement now as well, and we're only going once a month to see her now.
I guess the other thing that's different when working with balancing and trying to improve the function of something you can't that it's hard to make a specific "treatment plan" with a definite end point?
Anyway, in the last week or so, I have also reinstituted a more structured routine with our day here at home and Grant has been much more cooperative with completing his school work since he knows FOR SURE what time it will be over for him and the reward coming if he behaves properly.

This is a difficult journey.
It takes herculean amounts of energy and discipline to keep up a rigid, structured routine that ADHD almost always seems to demand to be managed well.
Dare ya to take a vacation day or a nap!!
It all unravels.
Conflict is always the end result.
You have to make impossibly difficult decisions that always require sacrifice of some kind.
But if I've learned anything in all of's worth it when you see your child struggle for so long....every day....and finally find a place where he can find peace with himself and his surroundings.

I'm still praying for my son.
Praying for the Lord to lead us just where we need to be to get him the help he needs to catch up in his schoolwork, and to be able to function well socially without the help of chemical medications.
God has a plan for him and we are still working to help him find out what that plan is!!


Donna said...


I know what a struggle this has been for you and the whole family. I am praying, along with you, for God's direction to be made clear and that Grant will be used by God in a great and mighty way. We are never alone in this journey of life. You have a Lord who loves you and your family and friends who are praying.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this update. My daughter just started taking Intuniv yesterday. She is on the 1 mg pill this week. She just turned 5. We have tried tons of medications and have not found one yet that works. This one, so far, I dont see any difference in her behavior yet. I am assuming it will take a week or more to get in her system. We are on day 2. She will be starting school this coming fall and I really want to find something that works before then. Hopefully, we will have success with this medication. :)

Brenda said...

Hi Anonymous!
Thank you for reading!! Finding just what is right for our unique child is such an exhausting journey. Sometimes, it takes trying and trying and trying to get it right. I hope you find encouragement and understanding in this place. God bless you!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Brenda,

First let me say how encouraged I am to find a voice that is rooted in Christ! I'm very curious to hear more about your son and intuniv it has been over a year now has your son had to switch medications? I am in the boat that you're in. I don't want my son to have to take anything but he's at the place that his self esteem is affected and he is giving up in school. I keep reading that we will end up on multiple medications anyway and the non stimulants are not as effective and you eventually have to switch. Is this now been your experience. Thank you for any insight you can shed.