My son is 5 and was diagnosed with ADHD in November. He was taken Focalin 7.5 XR until recently and the dr has recommended Vyvanse. Has anyone used this product on a child this young. I have read some side effects and it is scaring me a little.
Focalin is not approved for children under 6 years, no stimulant medications are for that matter.
Vyvanse has essentially the same side effects as Focalin.
I am an adult taking Vyvanse and have had experience with all other ADHD meds.
Vyvanse, though stronger than some meds, seems to step up to the plate where all the others fall short in some way.
Focalin/Concerta/Ritalin all helped calmed me down, however did not help with focus and concentration as much. They also created some problems with appetite loss, and insomnia, also the ups and downs of the meds coming on and wearing off everyday was tough at times.
Adderall XR was a complete disaster. Severe insomnia, severe weightloss, mood swings from coming up and then down. However, during the few hours when it was at a theraputic level, the Adderall would be perfect for my focus and racing mind.
Vyvanse seems to solve a lot of the different problems with these other drugs.
It is an amphetamine stimulant(like all ADD/ADHD meds, besides Strettera), however, it is processed by the body differently than other meds. This process and its formulation allows for a very gentle, slow onset of the medication, a very smooth and consistent day, and the same gentleness when the medication wears off. Sleeping and a slight loss in appetite only lasted about a week. After that there was no effect.
Vyvanse has caused none of the ups and downs that bothered me the most with Adderall and other meds.
Obviously the medication will effect a 5-6 differently, but at the right dose we should all respond fairly similarly to the medication.
A couple questions if I may....
Can I ask you what Vyvanse side effects you are frightful of?
Also, who it was that diagnosed your son as ADHD? A psychiatrist/psychologist or a pediatrician?
Why is the doctor suggesting that you switch from the Focalin to the Vyvanse?
If your pediatrician did prescribe the medication, did they instruct you to have the child be evaluated by a psychiatrist and psychologist? Is it monitored closely to see if his development is being effected? Did he/she talk to you about taking "drug holidays" to give the child a break from the med and evaluate his behavior off it?
I have read some other articles on other sites where a child (7 or 8) was given the Vyvanse and the child was unable to walk for over a day. There was articles of children being focused on one item for hours, talking for hours, not sleeping, feeling tired, very irritable . . . and more.
As a background, my son was kicked out of preschool before going to kindergarten. I thought it was the school not him. I even took him to a psychiatrist. She told me he didn't have ADD, ADHD or bipolar disorder. When he entered kindergarten, the issue came up again. He was very aggressive to others, would run around the class room, actually ran out of the school. I was getting calls daily from the vice principal. They indicated he might have ADHD. He is also very behind in his learning abilities. His pediatrician (who is very familiar with ADHD - her daughter has it) said my son did have ADHD - after reviewing evaluations of my family as well as the teacher.
My son's teacher indicates in her weekly reports that his medication wears off around noon and sometimes he needs more attention. To avoid giving him additional medication at school (so kids don't make fun of him) my dr has refrained from giving him a second dose. 7.5 mg seemed to be a good fit as far as we could see on the weekends. 10 mg turned him into a zombie.
The teacher thinks he needs more medication in the afternoon (he takes 7.5 mg at 7:00 a.m.). Dr didn't think the medication was working since it wore off and 10 mg was too much. She thought we should try the Vyvanse.
And yes, my son is checked twice a week. He has lost weight (not much). He does not eat in the afternoon, but eats fairly well in the evenings. We give him whatever he wants . . . especially things with lots of calories.
My son is a different person when he isn't on the meds. He is very hard to control - non stop all the time. I would like to have more info on the Vyvanse before I consider this treatment protocol. Also, having my son undergo an EKG at the age of 5 in order to take this medication is a very worsesome thing.
I have 2 (of 3) daughters diagnosed with ADHD and they are both on Vyvanse, 1st daughter (9 years old) takes 100 mg per day combined with Straterra and the 3rd daughter (6 years old) is on 40 mg per day. The only problem we have had with the Vyvanse is that it does seem to wear off earlier than the 12 hours it is said to last. I have been told that can be due to their high metabolism too. It gets them both through school which is key at this point. I would look into a 504 plan or ILP for your son. I have one for my oldest and it just outlines things like preferential seating, help getting organized for activities and lessons, extra time for homework and extra testing time when needed. You have to be willing to advocate for son as he will not be able to do it for himself. As far as the eating, try the Carnation instant breakfast drinks, they have lots of protein. My 9 year old eats like a horse some days, but have no idea where she puts it as she only weighs 60 lbs. My middle child outweighs her!!! When coming down off the meds, they are completely different children. I have found to try and be as calm as possible (this is very difficult especially with 2 at the same time). The calmer you are the better the end result.
Our mornings are horribly challenging as deadlines are not well tolerated by either of them.
Do you have him in any sporting activities? That allows them to burn some energy off.
I have also heard that fish oil works. I have tried it with my girls once, but they are on the severe end and it would take a fish a day to do the job.
Thank you for your response. The wearing off issue was a problem with the Focalin for my son. He would make it until around noon. I was very comfortable with this medication though. It helps him tremendously. I also value my drs opinion, but like I said I have read some things that have made me nervous to us the Vvyanse. Did your children undergo an EKG to take the Vvyanse? My dr has requested this.
Mornings are also a challenge for my son. He has one homework assignment a week - and it ususally takes us two days to complete. At this time, the medication has already worn off. He becomes very frustrated, irritated . . . so we split it in two days. I normally takes us over an hour to complete 4 pgs of rhyming and writing letters.
I have tried different weight gain methods - since he was losing some weight. Not an extreme amount. I tried Carnation, Pedisure, and other things. He doesn't like either of these. I am now giving him whole milk with dry milk added - this has seemed to help control the weight. He eats in the morning, but normally has a full box of lunch returned everyday. My son only weighs 37 pounds. I have been feeding him peanut butter and lots of ice cream. I let him eat whatever he wants during the evening time to try and boost his calories.
No sport activities yet. I want to try to get some control over his hyperactivity before sports. My son does not listen well - especially after the medication wears off. Somedays I have to tell him things 10 times or more before he actually listens to me. It is very frustrating. When medicated, he tends to listen and understand.
I was very nervous about medicating him, but now I see that if he doesn't have his medication, he cannot focus, listen or even be included in a group as he is very distracting. Now that I find a medication that seems to do well - just maybe not covering 1 hr of the day - my dr decides to switch it. (He goes to school at 7:45 and day ends at 2:30).
Can I ask you what the discipline situation has been like for your son over the past few years?
Was acting out cute when he was a younger and it wasn't as much of a disturbance?
It does sound like there might be some ADD/ADHD going on with your son, but it also sounds like he just thinks he can get away with whatever he feels like doing.
Does he get disciplined at home? You should not be afraid that he has no control over what he is doing and that his actions don't warrent discipline because he may have ADHD.
This is where I think a lot of parents get side tracked. They hear, "Your son has ADHD"... and they think that he cannot control any of the things he does because of the disorder.
This couldn't be beyond false.
The main reason why I noticed this was because you said that his teacher recommended more medicine. A kindergarten/1st grade teacher should not be making any recommendations about medicating a child....and if they are it, its because it makes there day easier to have the child never make a peep.
For ADD and ADHD kids definitely need medication, but like I said....the disorder is not a free pass to behave however they want. A child may have the disorder, but if they think they have and excuse to get away with things and people telling them nothing is their fault....that is a combination for disaster.
PS...I am not assuming you don't discipline your son. You are clearly a very caring and observant mother. Still, yelling at a kid or grounding them is a tough thing to do. Especially if he thinks he has the control in the situation.
Its just that the running around, out of school and the home, being distruptive...that is typically a child begging for attention. Once they have they structure, attention, discipline, and know who is the boss...they tend to reel it in.
Yes, we do discipline our son. We have tried everything with him. And he does have ADHD. He is very disruptive, if it is not his way, he will continue to misbehave, cause disruption, anything he can. He bounces off the wall constantly. He can take everything away from him and give him only something constructive to do and it is useless. He doesn't care about anything. He doesn't care if he has to stand in the corner, he doesn't care if he were to get any kind of punishment. In fact, he finds it very funny.
Now that he has been taking the Focalin, he is a lot calmer. You can talk to him and he understands the meaning of "no."
I treat all my children equally and have had no other discipline issues with my other child. I see a big change in my son when he has medicine.
My overall concern here is the dr changing him to the medication Vyvanse and the side effects and issues I have read that other parents have posted re this medication. Also, having my 5 year old undergo an EKG at this age is not any parent would want to experience.
I guess my response to this is, yes we do stick by the punishment that is passed down. But, it is very difficult to punish a child when his choices are affected by having the ADHD. It is hard to control himself because of the ADHD. The ADHD has a whole does contribute a lot to his thinking ability and ability to make the right choice. When taking the meds, he understands now that he has made the wrong decision and understands why he is being punished. We don't give him a free pass, but try to discuss with him the behavoirs or wrong doings so that he understand and can try to make the right choices.
It is easy to blame ADHD as the fault. But it is very hard to see your child being punished or withdrawn from a group because he does have something he cannot control without the proper medication.
And I agree with you, a teacher pushing more medication so she can make her day easier is a bunch of bologna. I have explained to the school that I will not over medicate my son and will stick by this decision. I just want him to have a good day and succeed.
"He actually finds it funny" .... that popped out at me.
A friend of mine with two children 9 and 5 (one who is medicated for ADHD, the other, 5 is not on any medication, yet.)
She has run into a phase where both girl are incredibly defiant, do not follow any directions, and then laugh when she tries to discipline them.
This is a point where family talk therapy or at least individual talk therapy would really help. Have you tried that?
Talking to a stranger, and have a stranger explain things to him...one that is trained to get down to his level....can really really help.
Also I am sure you are very informed regarding ADHD...but here is a website with a lot of great information...
It goes very indepth regarding symptoms and also has links to a discussion of disorders that can show up comorbidly with ADHD. I don't want to think that you so has a defiance disorder or conduct disorder and I doubt he does. But its good info.
Honestly, I think there are a lot of factors that are determining his behavior...beyond the ADHD. And I think the cognitive therapy with a main focus of identifying and resolving those issues would really help.
I have discussed a number of these issues with a psychiatrist and his pediatrician. First, the psychiatrist claimed he didn't have ADHD, that he was just a normal 4 year old. But as time progressed and the same complaints arose from two different schools about the behaviors, the pediatrician did in fact say it was the ADHD.
Now that he is on the medication, he doesn't laugh or think that punishment is funny. He is actually able to listen and tell you why he got in trouble in the first place. Before he wasn't able to understand why he was in trouble. He actually has some people he looks up to and some that he doesn't. He is geniunely a sweet and loving child . . . the hyperness just takes over and it is hard for him to control his actions.
The dr. explained it like this to me - - he has the hyper part. He is unable to control his line of thinking - - that when you tell him something, it doesn't register because he cannot control his line of thinking and continues to do the same thing. He has a hard time focusing on one particular things. Though, on his medication, he is in more control. He is able to realize that he did something wrong. But without, he just has no idea how to stop.
Him and his brother are total opposites. This makes it difficult as well. I have one child that struggles and the other that is excelled in every way. It is hard for the excelled child to understand at times that his brothers needs more attention and assistance. Learning is difficult for him, it doesn't come naturally like it does with his brother. I understand I can't compare them, and I don't. My son tries to look up to his brother now telling me I want to do better like my brother. We have made sure we show him that he is doing a great job and reward him often. This helps his self-esteem as he thinks he can't do it or it is too hard for him.
Like I have said, I didn't want to medicate my son and was hoping it was just an immature issue and he would grow out of it, but it is not. Now we realize he has to be on medication to help him with the things he needs to overcome.
I am going to try Vyvanse per my drs recommendation. She thinks this will help him as he really does need it and cannot do without. I am going to monitor him closely (which is hard to do when he is at school and I work). Again, some times I feel like the teacher wants to keep him medicated to make her day easier, which is not my intention for my child - it is to help him control himself.
Thank you for your comments and suggestions. I will take a look at the link. I have read many articles on ADHD to familiarize myself and hope to gain more insight.
Vyvanse is only approved for children aged 6-12. My son is 11 and is on this and it has been the best med that we have used. We have tried ritalin, concerta, adderall, and focalin. My son has done wonderful on vyvanse but again he is 11. My doctor stated that any child under 6 should not use this if you would like to see any results and it could harm them as well as any stimulant meds. She also said that children under 6 cannot be diagnose with adhd yet since they are not developed enough yet to handle these meds. They can cause all kinds of side effects especially tics.
I would suggest behavior therapy right now and possibly put him on meds once he has at least reached 1st grade. This is so overdiagnosed. I was not diagnose with this until I was 18 and I am happy to have found it out. I do wish that I would have known sooner then I could have done much better at school. I just do not believe that a child under 6 should be diagnosed with adhd. The schools only use this as a copout instead of actually teaching them. Trust me, I know this from experience.
My son is 5 and started on 20 mg of Vyvanse yesterday. The morning he was a zombie until around 9:30 a.m., did great at school, but at 4:30 in the afternoon the day was in chaos. He broke down crying for 45 mins over a minor thing, something didn't go his way. He was in complete hysteria. Then ... he went completely crazy at dinner time. He didn't like the food, was screaming that he hated all of us, was throwing at his father, tried kicking out cat. This behavior has never occurred before and went on for an hr. Then at bedtime, he wasn't able to go to sleep. He was 12 before he fell asleep, then he rewoke at 3:30 and went back to sleep at 6 a.m. This never happened with the Focalin.
Again, this is never happened with my son. He is very friendly and lovey. Just very hyper.
My dr indicated the dosage was too strong. She is now prescribing 10 mg of Vvyanse and 10 mg of Stattera in the evening to help him sleep.
Any thoughts on the Vyvanse and Stattera combination
The reason he may be having such extreme symptoms from the vyvanse is possibly due to him being taken off the focalin and put on the Vyvanse right away without getting the focalin out of his system first. Why would your doctor put him on both drugs? I would think that could be dangerous for him since he is so young. Stratterra is not used to help him sleep. I took strattera and I had rapid heartbeat, tics and extremely tired and I am 33 years old.
I would do some research on the two drugs being used together. Strattera is a dangerous med. and can cause many problems and the doctor should definetely know that Vyvanse is not prescribed for children under 6.
Be careful as to what they tell you is right for your son. Sometimes it can be diet alone, that gives him the hyperactivity and sometimes it is a mixture of both diet and adhd. Some doctors work alongside the school districts and they are pressured to put them on meds so that their schools reputation and of course state scores are what they want. The districts get money for how well their schools do on standardized tests.
I have been researching ADHD with children and adults for over 13 years. I am not an expert or anything, but it just sounds like they are pushing you to put him on these meds too early.
Unfortunately, they already started him on the meds for ADHD and it is extremely hard to get a child off of them. I would see about possible putting him back on the focalin and possibly upping the dose. If a couple years down the road he still needs meds then possible try the vyvanse again.
There is a great website you can go to to learn about the adhd meds. www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_medications.htm.
I really hope this helps. I wish that someone would have told me more when my son was diagnosed. You need alot of support from family and friends to help you through this.
The dr thought that Focalin was wearing off and so my son got a little anxious later in the day. He was taking 7 mg. When I increased to 10, he was a zombie. Chris how is your son's diet and weight on the Focalin?
I have taken my son off of the Vyvanse after two days of hell. I already posted my concern yesterday. Then after posting - later yesterday, my son said he saw someone named Johnny stabbing himself with a pencil. I will never give him Vyvanse again.
I am keeping him on the Focalin 7 mg. This has been a very scary experience for two days.
I cannot bear to watch my child go through. I can deal with the hyperiness more than the aggressive nature, not sleeping and possible hallucinations. Last night he was able to calm himself and get a good nights rest.
My dr took him completely off the Focalin to try the Vyvanse because she thought it would last him longer to make it through the day. But it's not worth it. From what I read about the Strattera, I'm not putting him on that either.
Thank you for the link and thoughts and comments. I really means a lot to me as we have no family around us and dealing with this situation wears on both myself and my husband.
My daugher is 4 almost 5. She was taking Adderall XR 5mg and it was just increased to 10mg.She seems to be doing better with the hyperactivity. Now we are dealing with her anger issues. We were in a domestic violence situation and moved to texas from Maryland to get help from my family. The doctor now is going to try behavior modification for possible ODD and PTSD
Hi there. We have never tried to the Adderall. I have decided to have my son continue with the Focalin XR 7 mg. I know he gets a little restless in the afternoon because this dosage doesn't last (he starts school at 7:45 and ends at 2:30). But after all I have gone through the past few days by switching the meds . . . I don't want to do that again. I have spoken with my dr and we may consider splitting it 5 mg in the morning and 5 mg in the afternoon, but want to wait a while. He still had a difficult time going to sleep last night. My dr said it is probably do to the Vyvanse trying to get out of his system.
Can you believe that on a different site that I am a member a young girl told me that I was committing child abuse by medicating my child? She looks like she is in her 20's and has no children. She is bashing everyone on the website for giving their children medication. I was very offened to her comments and don't think she should even post anything if she doesn't know what it is like having a child suffer with this disorder, along with other disorders.
I hope and pray everyday that my child grows out of it. I pray everyone that deals with this disorder gets some sort of comfort, it is not an easy situation to deal with.
please read the info at this website before you put your child on vyvanse.
we know a child that is on this medication and many of the side effects listed are things he is suffering with.
He is 11 and weighs less than 60 lbs. He is so thin he looks like he is anorexic. The medication makes him not hungry and he says he can't eat. When it wears off and he is home he would eat like he was starving but his parents won't let him. They give him a small 'regular' dinner but that is obviously not enough when he is not eating breakfast or lunch and is consistently losing weight.
He does not sleep! He sleeps 2-4 hours per night at most and goes non-stop all day long.
When the vyvanse wears off he is very aggressive. During the day he is almost zombie like when I have seen him. Now he is getting to feeling like everyone is against, the suspicious, paranoid behavior.
The psy does not check blood work on him to see if he is overmedicated. BUT prescribes a new medication for him at night ... to 'calm him down'. This med is supposed to help him sleep and increase his appetite but is an ANTI-PSYCHOTIC medication for severe mental illness!
This little boy is NOT mentally ill! He is a little boy that basically acts like a little boy .....but is so medicated now he can not control his behavior.
The two medications do opposite things. It just doesn't make sense to use medications with such horrific side effects and then give more medication for the side effects.
He is now talking about hurting himself.
I am so saddened by his situation. He is really a good little boy but this medication is going to kill him.
Educate yourself on medications. Don't just do what the teacher or doctor wants to do....or even what is easiest for yourself. Love your child and be very careful with what medications you give them.
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