Posts Tagged ‘medication’

After having Matt completely off the Mirtazaphine (night-time antidepressant drug that helps him sleep) for 5 days, I decided to have him take 1/2 of one last night just to see if his behaviors would in fact become worse:

And the results are in:

Obsessive/Compulsive behavior—worse

Moodiness–way worse

indecisiveness–way way worse

Irrationality–way way way worse. 

Causing mommy to age faster than the speed of light—you get the picture.

Is this just a coincidence? 

But hey, he did get a great nights sleep! (sigh)


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Since the sleeping medication appears to have worsened Matt’s anxieties and obsessive behavior, we decided to eliminated it.  Behaviors and anxieties have improved a great deal since we’ve stopped giving him this medication.  As far as his sleeping patterns………well, that’s another story. Here is an example of what the past few nights have been like.

8:00pm–Matt is ready for bed.

8:05pm–Matt falls asleep

9:00pm–Matt wakes up. Mom walks him back to his bed

9:05pm–Matt falls asleep.

10:03pm—Matt wakes up. Mommy gives him a melatonin, and walks him to bed.

10:25pm—Matt falls asleep.

1:15am—Matt wakes up and wants to watch a dvd.  Mom says no.

1:20am–Matt falls asleep.

3:02am–Matt wakes up and wants to visit. Mom says “The sun is not up. Go to sleep.”

4:00am–Matt falls asleep

6:45am–The sun starts to rise and Matt is wide awake. 

Good morning to everyone. 

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“Matthew may benefit from taking prescription medication.” 

Always such fun words to hear.  I believe the first time we heard those words was when Matt turned 3 1/2.  His pediatrician was the one who suggested it. But she didn’t strongly suggest it.  Was I completely against the idea of medicating Matt?  No.  In fact, I was a little glad that we now had something to put in the “Plan B” file.  As I have said before, I always prefer to have  other plans on file in case plan A falls through.  But when Matt was 3, plan A was still in effect.  It was working…..well sorta. As a 3 year-old he exhibited some explosive behavior but he was small at the time and I was always able to restrain him if I needed to.  As we all know, that’s not the case anymore.  His outbursts are way more frequent than they used to be. 

It wasn’t until Matt was 4 years old when I decided that he wasn’t making any improvements with plan A. He was becoming more difficult.  By the way, plan A was the gluten/casein free diet.  It’s always worth a try.  It worked well for Matt’s brother.  The diet wasn’t hurting Matt, but it wasn’t helping him either.  I was still very nervous about starting him on any medications.

It wasn’t the doctor that convinced me to try pharmaceuticals, but it was Matt’s occupational therapist  who convinced me.  He said, “If your son had diabetes or cancer, wouldn’t you give him medicine then?” I never thought about it that way. I guess a part of me felt as though we were giving up if we put Matthew on medication.  I know now, that is not true.  Not even close and I’ll be damned if anybody tries to convince me otherwise. 

That was 4 years ago when we first got on the medication rollercoaster.  The very first medication Matt has ever taken (besides antibiotics)is called Risperdal.  Risperdal is an anti-psychotic drug that is often used to treat kids with autism.  Its main purpose is for treating adults and teens suffering from schizophrenia but research has shown it seems to help some children with autistic behaviors as well.  There is a great deal of controversy in medicating children with antipsychotics but I won’t go into that today.  Maybe in a later post.  After being on Risperdal for 1 week we noticed a huge change in Matt.  The outbursts reduced by 80%.  Happy ending?  Well Risperdal, like most medications, tends to lose its effectiveness overtime.  The only answer is to increase the dose or find another medication.   Increasing the dose equals increasing the side effects.  Bad side effects, such as weight gain, tremors, and a higher chance of developing diabetes. 

A few months ago, we decided take him off Risperdal since it appeared to stop working.  The doctor put him on Mirtazaphine (an anti-depressant) to help him sleep.  Matt lost weight (in a good way, he was 8 pounds over). Matt gained sleep.  Our hope was that the Mirtazaphine would help his anxiety and calm behaviors but it did no such thing.  This past Monday, I frantically called Matt’s psychiatrist to inform her that the explosive behaviors were not improving, and they were beginning to spill over into school and daycare. He now needs a personal assistant during daycare.   “Lets try Zyprexa”, the doctor said. Zyprexa is an anti-psychotic much like Risperdal.  Same ugly side effects.  “We’ll try it for 30 days,” she continued. 

I came home and googled “Zyprexa”.  Bad move.  Nothing positive being said about this drug. But then again, nothing good was said about Risperdal either.  I started to doubt myself and the guilt set in.  But I just reminded myself that it’s not long-term. Maybe it will help him get over this hump. Or maybe he’s dealing with a bipolar disorder and this is what he needs to function.  Maybe I’m just a bad mom. That last sentence was Satan chiming in so I told him to shut up!

So I just picked up the prescription for Zyprexa at the pharmacy. The pharmacist looked at me strangely and so did his assistant.  “This is for your boy?” he asked.  “Yes”.  I said.  “How old is your boy?”, he asked.  “Seven”, I answered.  He and the assistant exchanged looks and then he looked at me.  “Ok, I hope he doesn’t gain too much weight”, he told me.  I responded saying , “I understand how this stuff works and its only temporary”.  The pharmacist and his assistant exchanged looks again, almost like they were smiling.  “Ok, have him take one at bed time. Have a nice day. ”  I grabbed the medication bag…….JERKS!! Have a nice day? I just purchased $70 dollars worth of ANTI-PSYCHOTIC medicine for my 7-yr-old!  Do I look like a person who’s been having nice days?!?!  The  mom guilt set in again.  I put the medication in my purse and drove home. Tonight Matt takes his very first dose of Zyprexa.  Hang on tight we are about to start the next ride on the medication rollercoaster. 

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It’s been over a month since my last post.  I still had the Christmas theme template activated.  It’s nice to finally change that. 

 The last month has been pretty much a blur.  Christmas has come and gone.  We survived 2 weeks of the kids being out of school. But just barely.  Just because Christmas break is over and school is back in session, doesn’t mean that Matthew is ready to immediately fall back into the original routine. His volatile behavior has hit a new peak. Over the past few weeks, it has become crystal clear to me that Matt’s first priority over everything else is to seek control.  Not necessarily in a dogmatic sort of way.  It’s more like he realises our world makes no sense to him so he wants to create his own world and we all better adapt to it….or esle!  Ok, I guess that’s a little dogmatic.  The screaming, throwing, hitting, kicking, and breaking was becoming a daily event.  Some days, it was an hourly event.  Anything and everything would trigger an outburst.  In these past few weeks I have felt anger, fear, desperation, and despair.   “What is going on with  him?”  “Why can’t we help him?”  “What are we doing wrong?” 

John and I have learned very quickly that most of our problem solving with Matthew is aquired through trial and error.  If one thing doesn’t work, try another.  If what worked before isn’t working now, try something new. Seek the advice on what is working for other parents of autistic children. But lately, things had become so intense and difficult with Matt over the past month that we ran out of ideas of what to try. Keep in mind, we were mentally and emotionally drained.  So I finally called his doctor. “How is Matt’s sleeping?”, she asked.  “Poor as usual”, I answered.  “He still wakes up in the middle of the night and he  still can’t sleep past 4am.” 

So, she agreed that the current medicine he has been taking for the past 3 years has lost its effectiveness.   As of 10 days ago, Matt began a new medicine that is an antidepressant. The primary reason for Matt taking it is so that he can sleep better.  It works, Praise God!  Sleeping in untill 6am is just blissful!  He has been less volatile as well. Could this be the answer?  Maybe for now.  But as we all know, life is a rollercoaster. To me it’s like being on a sailboat in the middle of an ocean.  The waters are calm and it’s peaceful.  But I know there will be a storm coming eventually.  I don’t fret about the storm.  It’s going to come whether I freak out or not.  I use that peaceful time to rest up, enjoy my family, and enjoy my life.  I thank God for giving me the calm days and I pray for more of them.  But when the storm hits, I brace myself and know that we are not  going to go through it alone.  Praise God for that!


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