I have an 8 year old boy and a new prescription for Concerta (for him, not for me). After more than a year of testing and discussion, I've accepted the 'script because - as our doctor was very
clear - we can always decide not to fill it. I'm asking you to help us decide if we should try this.
posted by anastasiav to Health & Fitness (28 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
At the risk of going on at length, here's the deal. My son is 8 has has a formal diagnosis of ADHD and ASD (he would have been diagnosed with Aspergers if that was still a recognized diagnosis - his doctors and therapists use the phrase "high functioning" with him a lot (which I hate). I would just say that he's socially unobservant.). He's an awesome, creative, funny, loving kid. He's very atypical in presentation for both ADHD and ASD, but after almost two years of evaluation and testing this is where the diagnosis has settled. I could go on at length about his strengths, but the only one that seems relevant here is that he's very, very intelligent, and could be academically extremely successful if only he were able to focus in the classroom.
In addition to the stuff listed above, he's a pretty anxious child in general, with a particular phobia of bees. (Interestingly, he's afraid of bees because he is afraid the bee will die if it sings him vs. being actually afraid of the pain of being stung by a bee). He has also, for the past six months or so, developed a tic that manifests as extreme blinking, particularly when eating or talking. Lastly, he's not (and never has been) a great sleeper.
So: in theory, we're going to try the Concerta for a couple of days (weekend days) between now and when school starts on the 2nd. After a ton of discussion, his doctors have decided that Concerta is the best "first try" for him despite the known anxiety side effects ("I've also seen it make the tics disappear. There isn't any way to know except to try").
Here are my questions for you, who are not our doctors. I am aware I am asking you for anecdotal stuff, but rest assured that we've discussed this at length with both his regular pede and his pediatric developmental neurologist. I am looking for a perspective they cannot really give.
- Did you give your child Concerta? Did it ramp up his/her anxiety? If it did, how long did the anxiety last after the action period of the drug had passed?
- If your child had other negative side effects to Concerta (tics, in particular) how long did they last? (The literature does describe tics remaining long after the course of medication has passed. Our PDN calls this "very rare" but could not immediately categorize how rare with a percentage or study. The internet seems to say otherwise, but that's confirmation bias I know.) Did they resolve without other medication?
- Did you give your child Concerta and nothing happened but good things? No side effects at all?
- Our PDN no longer prescribes Strattera for children due to the black box warning. If it turns out that stimulants don't work for him, do we have any other options?
And, finally: I feel like I'm making my son into a test rabbit. I can give him this drug, and nobody can say for sure if things will get better for him, if things will get uniformly and seriously worse, or if there will just be side effects that we'll have to learn to live with. I know that, in theory, this is a short-term commitment -- we try it for a day or two and if it's awful then we move on -- but stories about kids who have ended up with long-lasting tics or even lasting psychiatric disorders are too common to completely dismiss. I'm also really surprised that given the prevalence of the use of stimulants, that there isn't a test or profile that says "this should work for these kids, but it probably won't work for those kids".
I am not asking you, Metafilter, to make this decision for me. But I do feel strongly there are level heads here that both have hands on experience and are also up on the latest research and treatments. So, ultimately, my question is: given what I've told you about my specific child, do you feel I should take the risk?