How many meds, are too many meds??

Avatar for shizngiglz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
How many meds, are too many meds??
Tue, 05-27-2003 - 1:50pm
I'll try to keep this short, just looking for some opinions.....and maybe I need to vent a little bit.

The situation, for me, is difficult because I'm "nobody"....I'm not the child's mother, I'm not a blood relative...I'm just the father's girlfriend. But, I love Justin (my BF's 10 yr. old son) very much, and I'm VERY concerned about him.

Here's the deal....Justin is currently on 3 different medications. He is on concerta for his ADHD, Risperdal (psychotic/schizophrenic symptoms) and Remeron (treats major depression). Most the time he's a walking zombie. The medication is the ONLY "course of treatment" that he's on. I've done some research, neither the Riperdal or the Remeron, have been tested on children under 15 for safety or long-term effects. He's on a double adult starting doseage of the Risperdal. He has been on these medications, for the last 4 years!! He has not been re-evaluated/reassessed periodically (he was being treated by a University hospital at one point, and was stripped of all his meds per their findings, but she just quit going there and found another doctor who would prescribe them)....We live in Michigan,(his mother is on "state aide") which is ranked 3rd in the nation for prescriptions of these kinds of medications.

Justin is a hyper kid....he does have some behavioral issues. But, and I'm not making ANY sort of generalized statement whatsoever....his home-life is anything but stable, there is no structure, his mother has NO idea what she's giving him, she just knows that the pills "make it easier to handle him" and she changes doctor's, like you change underwear....we have repeatedly tried to talk to her about it, but all that does is make it harder for us to see him. His Mom is now talking about starting a daycare out of her house, for this summer....and sending Justin to "Day Camp". (she can care for other kids, but not her own??? Justin had to got to day camp last year...he absolutely HATED it!) My BF works from home, and we've been trying to talk her into letting him stay with us for the summer....we'd like to get a doctor's OK to take him off the medications during this time.

I just think it's horrible what's happening to this child. (His father and I are not particularly "well off"...we can't afford to take her to court)

Does anyone have a child, or know one, that is taking these medications??

I'm sorry to ramble.....just feel like I have no outlet for my concerns.

Thanks for listening.

Avatar for kathy_in_ga
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-27-2003 - 10:29pm
My son takes 3 meds. His is DXed ADHD/Bipolar disorder. He takes his adhd meds Seroquel, and anti psychotic, pluse Depakote a mood stabilizer. My son in now way has ever walked around like a zombie, if this child is he is getting a too high of dose. If your BF, the father, wants to find out what the child's DX is he can request it from the doc.

Another thing I can say is that my son can act "normal" in front of other people, but at home (where he is able to let loose & be himself) he is another child. I'd much rather deal with 10 "normal" kids than my own. My son can be abusive, distructive, and just plain annoying most times. Not saying I don't love him, but Joiner unmedicated scares the heck out of me. The school thought I was nuts, his granny thought I was just not able to deal with him correctly. Well finally he was comfortable at school & let loose. His granny has now seen his "other" side, unfortunatly we were at church at the time & I had to carry him out kicking & screaming. I am just saying that maybe the child can hold it together for his visits to his dads, especially if they are only every other weekend.

Maybe you both could convince the mother to let him stay with you two during the summer, play on the side where she wont have to deal with the child all summer long. And wont have to pay for a summer camp to boot. Another thing, I know some parents who have a very hard time getting any meds for their child, wonder how this mother is getting them so easily?

Avatar for keke0116
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 6:40am
They're all different, and different docs have different 'ways' ... but as a rule of thumb, I went into all of this (after being anti-meds, BTW) feeling that I will NEVER have my child on more than 2 meds, period! AND, I will not keep him on any medication where the side effect caused more 'effect' than the benefit did good. The 'goal' of meds is NOT to have a child so doped up that the parents and/or the teachers can 'deal' with them better. It is to help them focus and pay attention and LEARN and be able to reach their potential. If the medication is not doing that, then it's not working. Heck, if all you want to do is dope the kid up, you can do that by giving him Benedryl! Geesh. Kids sometimes do need more than 1 medication to get the desired effect, or sometimes a 2nd dose of whatever they're on is needed in the afternoon to help get through the day. Sometimes one med has an adverse side effect that gets countered by another medication ... like if the med makes them unable to sleep, they get something else to help them sleep. But, if all that's happening is he's getting one med after another, and when one side effect peeks up, he gets another med to counter that, than it's not being monitored and administered properly.

AND, when the child is on medication, he is supposed to be regularly seeing the doctor (preferably a psychiatrist) who is monitoring it all ... checking his weight to see if he's growing or losing weight, talking to the child AND the parents about how it's going, evaluating to see if the meds should be continued or doses altered. That is typically what happens.

If he was diagnosed 4 years ago, put on meds, and never monitored since, there's a problem for sure. AND, if he's a walking zombie, then he isn't reaching his full potential. (My DH had a nephew that was like that for YEARS ... I remember him coming over one day when he was like 11-12, and his mother giving us a baggie with like 12 different pills in it that he was supposed to take in the afternoon ... and he apparently did that 2x per day. And, I'll be really blunt in telling you that he is now in his 20s, is a total crack addict, and lives his life in/out of jail and on the streets!)

In other words ... I would be very concerned. NOT as much about the fact that he's on 3 different meds (because in the ADHD world, that isn't completely uncommon, although I personally wouldn't allow it) but because of the lack of monitoring that is going on.



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Avatar for shizngiglz
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 05-28-2003 - 11:08am
Justin is in NO WAY "totally out of control".....he's probably allowed to be himself more during visits, than he is at his mother's.....You want to know what I think is half the problem? At his Mom's, he's shut up in a little apartment in town, he has to constantly compete for whatever bit of attention he can get,(he has two other siblings, plus his Mom constantly has at least 5-6 children at her house...) there's no schedule, there's no consistancy....he's just told to stay quiet and still.

His Mom told us that he threw a fit in the store one, when she called to "tell on him" and have my BF talk to him about it....when asked why he did it, he said, "To get Mom's attention" much more direct and clear could he of been?!?!?!

And to be honest....I'm just gonna say it, his mother's disciplinary skills are lacking to say the least. She has him so doped up, it's not even funny.....The meds are beyond "helping" him...they make it so he can't even concentrate...he has side effects that resemble a drug addict, he's constantly got "cotton mouth", so he "chews" his tongue, he's hands/fingers are constantly going (you know how you tap your nails on the table and make the sound of horses hooves? his fingers make that motion, constantly)

He stutters ALL the time, repeating the first 2-3 words in the sentence he's trying to get out..."can I, can I, can I, can I go outside?" NOT because he's so "wound up" that he can't get it out, but because he can't seem to remember what he was saying....

She gets the medication easily, because of the doctor's she goes to....and because she receives help from the state. To be honest...I would not be surprised if Justin is being used in a "study"....and in turn, she gets the medication for free or a reduced rate.

He is not being periodically evaluated.....they just keep pushing the meds....he's not being taught/shown how to handle his emotions/feelings...they're not curing him, they're just doping him up to surpress the symptoms.

Maybe he does need to be on medication....but it absolutely pisses me off, that it appears that he's on one medication to treat something, but it causes something else, so they prescribe another one, which causes another side effect, so they prescribe something else.....

How is this growing boy EVER supposed to learn to function correctly? What are all these "medicines" doing to his body's chemistry?? He's growing and maturing (maybe) and has all this crap being introduced...what is all this stuff, that's supposed to "help" him, REALLY doing to him?????????

I'm sorry.....but it makes me angry, VERY angry. All that's happening, is his pills are being used as a frickin' babysitter! I know that there are cases and instances, where meds are needed....but not like this.

I know I'm venting more than anything........but I needed to.


I'm still hoping that we can get him for the summer......