I work with children with ASD and I am wondering about the effects of ritalin in a child with autism. I have heard that children with autism should not take ritalin because the opposite happens- negative behaviours increase. I actually saw this in a child I was working with a couple of weeks ago- we hadn't given him his meds (dexedrine) for a week and the first day we did, he was off the wall all afternoon and every afternoon after that that his meds were given to him. I know that there are a lot of threads on here about ritalin, but this is something I had never heard until a couple of weeks ago. Does anybody know anything about this? Thanks a lot.
First of all, I am not a doctor. Second, the choice to use medication on children with autism is not an easy one. I know. I don't work with children with autism. I am the mother of one. There are many drugs my childs doctor has recomended for his behaviors. I have tried most of them and decided against many of them. Some risks I am not willing to take and some side affects I don't want to take a chance on. I am not unaware of the statistics or of the problems that have been associated with medications. I have found success with a combination of drugs I can live with. There are many different forms of ADHD meds. You specifically named Dexedrine. My son takes Methylphenidate. This is Ritalin. Dexedine is marketed as Adderall. They are not the same drug. Some people respond better to Tylenol and some to Advil, and you might think "What's the difference?" But to the person using it, the difference might be in what works and what doesn't. Anyway, why would YOU as a therapist/caretaker/whatever be deciding when to give meds and when not to? Maybe it's the wrong med, or maybe it's the inconsistant delivery. Maybe I'm being defensive, but you seem to be making presumptions based on one or two weeks of experience. I have lived with ASD for 7 years. Most of which were totally UN-medicated. I can tell you that for my son it has made the difference between spending a day in school "bouncing off the walls" to actually being able to learn to read (at a 2nd grade level in Kindergarten) and participate with social activities (leading the class in calander time, participatinig in music class, etc...). I just felt I had to speak for the parents who medicate, even though I respect those parents who choose to take a different path. Just my opinion. Any one else have something to say?
HI My son has been taking Ritalin , well, Concerta ( sort of time-release ritalin) for years. We recently took him off, because it was making him grumpy and angry, and we were tired of trying to medicate that side affect. Some things would work, but only short term, others did nothing. while others caused him to have seizures, and yet others mabe him gain a lot of weight. BUT most of the kids in Devin's AI class are on Ritalin. and doing great on it. We tried him on Adderall, and it made him SO violent that I was afraid of him. SO I guess what I'm saying is that just like any medication, what works for one may not for another, I hate to say it, but it's like a guessing game, you never know how a person is going to react to a medication until they take it. It's a scary situation, when you feel like your child is a guinea pig in the drug of the month program. But hopefully there is somthing out there that will help.
First of all, I was offended by your post because obviously I did not make myself clear. I was not "deciding" when to give him his meds- my supervisors were unaware that he was supposed to be given meds during the hours that he comes to the program where I work. After they became aware, he was given them at the designated time every day after that. Secondly, I have 5 years experience, not 2 weeks. Not that that compares to 7 years of parenting. This was my first experience with AD/HD and autism combined, and heard that ritalin has adverse effects on children with ASD. I was just wondering if anyone else had heard this, and this was a very offensive post for such a simple question.
Last edited by happyhelper; 08-09-2005 at 06:57 PM.
to try and help answer your questions yes ritalin does sometimes have adverse reactions in children with autism.I am no doctor but everything that i have read and from what my daughters doctor told me (my daughter has pdd/anxiety and add)if the child has issues with anxiety and if they dont get that under control first then ritalin will just make everything worse.i hope this helps you.
Ritalin made my son's autistic symptoms worse. He was 5 and would sit and draw in a circle the entire time. If you tried to turn or lift his head up he would freak. He would not eat, drink or use the restroom all he did was draw in circles. The as if wore off it was like he was fighting unseen demons and I would have to sit on him. Then he would lay on my lap and cry about how he wanted to die. The doc didn't believe me and upped the dose so I made an evening appt and let him withdraw in her office. She immediately hospitalized him.
When he was 11 the school wanted us to try it again. I gave him one dose and he became mean and obsessive. As it wore off he then beat on a tree for hours. The school agreed to never approach the subject again.
Last edited by lostinreality; 08-09-2005 at 10:02 PM.
Happyhelper, thank you for clarifying your post. I will attempt to do the same. I did not mean to imply your experience was limited to 2 weeks, only your experience with this particular child. Obviously the parents did not comunicate to you that he was to take the medication (I can't imagine not notifying my son's caretakers/teachers/therapists if I expected them to administer medication)- which would lead to the inconsistant delivery I was refering to.
As I can tell from the rest of the posts, I am the only one who's son has not had any negative behavior associated with his meds. I believe that ANY child CAN have a negative effect from medication. I've seen some NORMAL ADHD kids that go through several medication trials and still can't find anything that works. And medication is probably not the answer for everyone.
For Ausomemom2: My son's doctor also put him on liquid prozac and I know how you feel about it seeming like a horrible thing to do to your child. And I don't know, maybe it is. I fought it for quite awhile, but when my son spent all day at school either flapping and running, or under a weighted blanket and unable to participate in anything I had to try something. This combination has worked so far for us. My son has not shown any violent tendencies, but I'm am always aware that that may come in time. It may be the meds, or it may be his frustration as he gets older and more aware of his problems, or maybe he'll just get more opinionated. Don't get me wrong- my son's no "zoned out zombie". He's very active , very mischeivious , and dare I say even manipulative (in the most endearing ways).
I hope everyone who posted finds a way to help their child succeed with or without meds.
It was not my intention to offend anyone. I just tend to get defensive (as I said) when people say things like " I heard that ASD kids...(insert generalization here)." Obviously they don't all react the same.
Maybe there are others that use Prozac, but as with us, might be reluctant to say so due to the stigma that seems to be attached to these types of drugs. All I know is that it has helped my son at this time. My hope when I started him on it (and the ritalin) was that it would enable him to make better use of his time in school. I don't think our kids ever "stop" learning, but the more you can get into them at a younger age the easier it will be when they get older. All children are sponges while they are young. I was tired of feeling like we were sending him to school and he was just not getting anything out of it. I'm not sure if this same combination will always work for him (I kind of doubt it) and I hope that some day he will not need any meds (I kind of doubt that, too), but for now he is not violent and has not shown any "suicidal" tendencies- one of the controversial concerns as a side effect of many of these meds they recommend for ASD kids. So we will continue to keep an eye on things and take advantage of the opportunity that it has given us to help him make as much progress as we can.
Hmmm this thread caught my eye for a couple of reasons. First Chris has been on prozac for almost a year and I have nothing but good things to say about it. All he did before he started on it was run around flapping his hands and "flipping out. His "stimming" has gotton so much better and I feel like he has learned more in the past year than ever. Now his doc wants to put him on stratera in the fall once he starts school. I am wary of it because I don't want to see him to be over medicated but i trust his doctor and will try it.....
To momofchris- We started with the prozac, too and added the adhd med after trying some other things. I think my sons dr would like to try something different than the ritalin, but we have "pill" issues. With the Ritalin LA, we are able to open the capsles and put the "sprinkles" in a bite of pudding and he will take it even though he knows it's there. It's a time release, but it's the only one that doesn't have to be swallowed whole that I have found. We actually started with the regular 5mg tablets of ritalin and could crush them enough for him to put in a drink, but that type and dose only lasted about 4hrs, which was just enough to get him through his 1/2 day of school. When he started going to school all day, we had to try the extended release. The only negative with the ritalin is the loss of appetite. I don't believe Stratera has that problem. My guy isn't a real heavy weight to begin with so we have to watch it closely. We try to make up for it by letting him eat when ever he is hungry and giving his meds later on weekends so he can get a big breakfast in. This seems to be working for now. I think the prozac really helped with his OCD type issues as well as some of the "stimming" and "flapping". He used to get hooked on one thing at a time. Before we started the prozac he would go through an entire package of computer paper every few days drawing and drawing...it was fantastic, but also impossible to get him off of. He still draws amazingly, but now he is not "obssessed" with it. Then the ritalin helped him to sit and attend to his work in class and also in group activities. I wish you luck and continued success. Anyone who thinks we take this issue lightly or use meds to make it "easy" on ourselves should spend one day with my son even when he is on meds! There is never a dull moment !
THanks for the info. I couldn't agree with you more. I would love to see some people spend the day with my Chris and wonder sometimes why I have a crazed look on my face. My family had a fit when I put him on prozac and now they aren't to happy about Stratera. I say tough the descion weather to medicate or not is up to the parents not anyone else.
Ritalin is classified as a Schedule II drug according to the FDA-same class as cocaine.
The FDA issued a Public Health Advisory on October 15, 2004, directing manufacturers of all antidepressant drugs to revise the labeling for their products to include a boxed warning and expanded warning statements that alert health care providers to an increased risk of suicidality (suicidal thinking and behavior) in children and adolescents being treated with these medications.
Has anyone tried chelation therapy? I know lots of parents who've used it on their autistic children with good success.
From the American Journal of Industrial Medicine: (In my own words) 41 patients in China were poisoned by ethyl mercury chloride. 5 months after exposure they were still in poor condition. So they were treated with two chelating agents, DMPS and DMS. Both were effective but DMPS was superior. There was a 7-30 day latent period between exposue and symptoms. Abnormal EEG's were common. In 27 cases where chelation was used for two months, all had some relief; 19 became asymptomatic. There were 13 cases that were not treated. Two months later, the untreated patients showed little improvment. During chelation, the urinary mercury levels increased in almost all cases. They said that it appears that chelation therapy is not only helpful in diagnosis but also aids in assessing the level of intoxication.
To all of you whose children are on Prozac: THANK YOU! My sister has been giving me a lot of grief about putting my daughters on it. I have been on it myself since 1992 for chronic depression. It not only stopped my suicidal thoughts and tendencies, it has also done wonders for my constant fidgiting.
Anyway, it wasn't until my oldest was diagnosed with Asperger's that I had to take a hard look at meds for my girls. Katie was having panic attacks and stress-induced migraines prior to her dx, and after 6 months of therapy, her psychologist suggested testing for an ASD. When the Asperger's diagnosis came back and the panic attacks and migraines continued, I realized something more was needed. Since I take Prozac and do very well on it, I opted to try Katie, starting with the smallest dose available (5 mgs). Over a year later, Katie is on 15 mgs and doing so much better. The panic attacks have virtually disappeared and she hasn't had a migraine in almost a year. She still has some stress issues, but is learning to identify the triggers and how to keep herself calmer so they don't escalate.
Since Katie did so well and having had her teacher suggest that maybe Judy, my youngest with autism, would benefit from meds, I decided to try Judy on it as well. I used the same scenerio with Judy that I did with Katie, only I had to nudge the psychiatrist away from using an atypical anti-psychotic first. His first line of meds was Risperdal (sp?), which I was totally against. Judy's teachers have agreed with my decision. Neither felt Judy would do well on it.
I guess I was unusual in that I waited until Judy was 10 before I ever broached the subject of meds, even with her pretty severe behaviors. Judy has a very low frustration level and would have tantrums at the drop of a hat that would last for hours and include screaming, throwing herself around, and head-banging to the point where she would get bruises on her cheeks, chin, and forehead.
The aforementioned sister had been telling me for years that Judy needed to be put on meds and now has the gall to suggest that Prozac was the wrong choice and I should have gone with the Rispherdal. This has since become a major source of contention between us. She seems more willing to believe the negative publicity and her own daughter's adverse reaction to Prozac than to see that I did my research when I decided against Risperdal, having read as much as I could about it before I made the decision against using it, as well as asking Judy's teachers' opinions. I opted for using Prozac instead of Effexor, Wellbutrin, or Zoloft because I have been on all of those at different times and reacted badly to each. Prozac is the only anti-depressant I've used that hasn't made me worse or unable to function normally. Figuring my kids share 1/2 my genes, chances were at least 50/50 that they would do okay also. So far so good! Katie's anxiety issues have decreased immensely and her focus is much better. Judy is much, much calmer, her tantrums have gone down to about 30 minutes from 3 + hours, the head-banging has almost completely stopped, and she's able to respond to her name and simple commands more consistently. She's also laughing and smiling daily, which was the best gift of all. She still has stimming and sensory issues, but they've reduced some as well.
I didn't mean to go on so long, but I was really beginning to question whether I made the right decision to use Prozac for my girls. My sister was wearing me down and making me think I had made the wrong choice. Thank you, thank you, thank for helping validate my decision!
LisaAS, My sister is SO anti-med (she's a Scientologist) I've never even told her that my son is on them. I'm not going to argue with her about it because this is not an issue where there is right or wrong. It's a personal decision. She can quote all kinds of facts about drug studies and harmful side effects and I'll even agree with her that there are some serious problems with medication and psyciatric doctors, etc...but it comes down to what works for my son. I have not seen any kind of negative side effects. He has limited communication, but I have not seen any signs of "suicidal behavior or thoughts". And if you think about it, maybe we should consider the fact that the kids who have those side effects might be on the wrong medication. I would think that the Prozac is maybe just not working for them since they obviously had issues or they wouldn't have been given the Rx. This is an area that everyone just needs to agree to disagree on. I'll never be able to change my sisters mind, so I don't waste the energy.
Velveeta, as of this date I have no personal knowledge of anyone having success with chelation. I have read the studies, I see the logic, and I think the stories of it helping are great for those parents. But of the few people I personally know of that have attempted it, there have been small gains made by one child who was on the severe end of the spectrum, one saw no change, and the other was unable to complete the process due to it making their child ill. It's not an easy fix for everyone and I applaude those who have the ability to undertake the effort.