Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

how do you feel about this?Kids with autism often get multiple meds at once

Posted by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 8:41 PM
  • 31 Replies

 

Poll

Question: about meds

Options:

Never would I give them to my child

thats the easy way out

only if they need them

hell yes, if it works

I will do anything that will help my child

other...please share


Only group members can vote in this poll.

Total Votes: 25

View Results

NEW YORK | Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:04pm BST

(Reuters Health) - Many kids with autism are prescribed mood-altering drugs, sometimes several at once for long periods of time, according to a new study.

So-called psychotropic drugs include antipsychotics like Haldol and Thorazine as well as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and stimulants like Adderall.

Those drugs alter people's mood or behavior. Many have not been proven effective for treating autism.

"I was surprised at how extensively psychotropic medications are used in children, even very young children, and how often children are receiving more than one at a time without research showing effectiveness or safety of (that practice)," senior author Dr. Anjali Jain said.

The drugs are often prescribed for kids feeling anxious, throwing tantrums or being irritable or aggressive, said Jain. She is a researcher at The Lewin Group, a health policy research and consulting firm in Falls Church, Virginia.

Researchers don't know for sure that the drugs are prescribed too often, she said. But any use by kids with autism could be too much since no one is positive the medicines are working, she added.

For their study, Jain and her coauthors looked at insurance data from 2001 to 2009 for more than 33,000 children with autism spectrum disorders.

Of those, 64 percent had filled a prescription for a mood-altering medication and 35 percent appeared to be taking drugs from two or more classes - such as a stimulant and an antidepressant - at the same time. Fifteen percent filled prescriptions for drugs from three or more classes at once.

Many kids taking more than one drug at once did so for over a year, the researchers wrote in Pediatrics.

Children who also had attention-deficit disorders, anxiety, bipolar disorder or seizures were more likely to be taking mood-altering drugs than those who only had autism.

Possible side effects of the medications include headaches, sleeping and appetite problems and "a Parkinson's-like movement disorder," Jain told Reuters Health.

"And some of these medications can themselves cause symptoms like anxiety and agitation that mimic a psychiatric disorder potentially leading to even more medication use," she said.

Since many children with autism are particularly sensitive to sounds and textures, they could be sensitive to powerful medications as well. Plus, children with autism are likely less able to tell adults how drugs make them feel physically and emotionally.

Experts don't know the risks of taking more than one type of mood-altering drug at once, Jain said.

"The medications might help - I am sure they often do help - but we're not really sure when and for whom they are most helpful or if there might be other approaches that are as effective and perhaps safer," she said.

Parents, doctors and teachers may feel desperate and without many options, she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 88 U.S. children has an autism spectrum disorder.

"These medicines can be helpful, so they should be prescribed in the right situations," Dr. Daniel L. Coury said. He is a developmental behavior specialist at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

It's especially concerning when the drugs are prescribed before investigating possible causes of the troublesome behaviors not related to autism, or before trying other treatment options like therapy, Coury told Reuters Health.

Behavioral therapy can be effective, but can mean more than 20 hours of therapy per week. So it isn't always an option for every family, researchers said.

"Behavior therapy is tough to get and more variable in delivery than medication," Thomas Frazier, II, from the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Autism, said.

"It also requires more work on the part of the parent, which is not always an attractive feature," Frazier told Reuters Health. Neither he nor Coury was involved in the new study.

And insurance doesn't always cover therapy, Frazier said.

"I think these drugs are prescribed because there aren't good treatments for symptoms that can be very difficult to manage," Jain said.

SOURCE: bit.ly/H7ZIlx Pediatrics, online October 21, 2013.

by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 8:41 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
maciymommieof3
by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 8:45 PM

in my case,,,both of mine on the spectrum have severe ADHD too, and the stimulant is extremely helpful....it works just the opposite in ADHD peps :)

SamMom912
by Gold Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 8:50 PM
2 moms liked this

I cant judge what other people feel they need to do to help their child. Not my call. 

I dont like medication.  I dont medicate my child at all.. Rarely do I even give asprin. Lol.. If he has an issue, I change the environment or my expectation. Those two changes have been enough to make our house happy and liveable.

That being said, I think there is a rush to "fix" but I certainly understand that as well since people typically want to do what they feel is best for their child. I DO wish that HELP (behavioral therapy and other alternate means) were more accessible and financially available to more..  I Think the "easy" drug would be used less if there were more reliable consistant options. 

Jenn8604
by Jennifer on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:09 PM
2 moms liked this
I will ONLY use meds as a LAST resort.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
bethkeagan
by Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:14 PM
3 moms liked this
I also do not medicate. there are plenty of natural resources (herbs) that can help in any way. I also think that if therapies and supplements were covered by ins a lot more families would go this route! I do think medication is the easy way out. but I also know what it's like to have to put up with issues of sever autism so I do understand why some people choose this approach. but again I stres herbs and supplements should be covered under ins! the side effects of a natural herb are much less than those of chemical!
bethkeagan
by Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:22 PM
1 mom liked this
there is an herb called chamomile. it works like magic for adhd:-) my son would wake up and not sit down until I put him in bed (up for 16 hours and 2 years old) I give him this and he will be so calm and be able to focus on his therapy for a whole hour with out getting out of his chair!


Quoting maciymommieof3:

in my case,,,both of mine on the spectrum have severe ADHD too, and the stimulant is extremely helpful....it works just the opposite in ADHD peps :)


NiyasMom1
by Bronze Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:35 PM
I will not medicate my daughter unless every other option has been exhausted but totally understand parents that choose this option.
maciymommieof3
by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:37 PM

I am all about what will help my children..........whatever the action maybe

Quoting NiyasMom1:

I will not medicate my daughter unless every other option has been exhausted but totally understand parents that choose this option.


maciymommieof3
by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:41 PM

I tried that on myself....ya know...the "change my environment" or "my expectation"....but the problem with that is..... everyone else in this world, b/c they will not change their expectation for my child....nor would they be able to change the environment either....  I can't home school my kids and that would be about the only way I could change their environment... and I don't think it is fair to send my kids to school when they are disrupting they whole class.... therefore I do what will help my children "fit in" and conform and learn how to adapt.

Quoting SamMom912:

I cant judge what other people feel they need to do to help their child. Not my call. 

I dont like medication.  I dont medicate my child at all.. Rarely do I even give asprin. Lol.. If he has an issue, I change the environment or my expectation. Those two changes have been enough to make our house happy and liveable.

That being said, I think there is a rush to "fix" but I certainly understand that as well since people typically want to do what they feel is best for their child. I DO wish that HELP (behavioral therapy and other alternate means) were more accessible and financially available to more..  I Think the "easy" drug would be used less if there were more reliable consistant options. 


maciymommieof3
by on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:45 PM
1 mom liked this

I guess I see it differently....  I don't say .... Hey honey...lets medicate our kids!  I simply say, Did you give "D" his medicine this morning? There is such a stigma to the child when approached in that manner....and I feel it is not fair to hold something back that will help my child succeed in life b/c of what "I don't want to do"...it's about them, not about me.

Quoting NiyasMom1:

I will not medicate my daughter unless every other option has been exhausted but totally understand parents that choose this option.


SamMom912
by Gold Member on Oct. 22, 2013 at 9:46 PM


Yeah, I hear you.. Like I said, its been enough for us.. For now...  but my kid (2nd grade) is having lots of issues at school...

Quoting maciymommieof3:

I tried that on myself....ya know...the "change my environment" or "my expectation"....but the problem with that is..... everyone else in this world, b/c they will not change their expectation for my child....nor would they be able to change the environment either....  I can't home school my kids and that would be about the only way I could change their environment... and I don't think it is fair to send my kids to school when they are disrupting they whole class.... therefore I do what will help my children "fit in" and conform and learn how to adapt.

Quoting SamMom912:

I cant judge what other people feel they need to do to help their child. Not my call. 

I dont like medication.  I dont medicate my child at all.. Rarely do I even give asprin. Lol.. If he has an issue, I change the environment or my expectation. Those two changes have been enough to make our house happy and liveable.

That being said, I think there is a rush to "fix" but I certainly understand that as well since people typically want to do what they feel is best for their child. I DO wish that HELP (behavioral therapy and other alternate means) were more accessible and financially available to more..  I Think the "easy" drug would be used less if there were more reliable consistant options. 




Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)