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Lamictal feedback?
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booklovermom posted:
Hello parents... My 9 year-old son has just been hospitalized for the 4th time in a year. Over the last year he has been treated with ADHD drugs, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics Abilify, Risperdal) NOTHING has helped him, in fact, I have painfully watched my son's mental health deteriorate for a year!!!! This is so painful for him and me. He is in a different hospital this time and the doc. wants to try Lamictal on Monday. He is now weened off everything else he was taking except the Clonidine at night to sleep. Are there any parents who have had experienced Lamictal with their child? I know about the risk of rash, I read about it and it scares me to death!!! This particular rash can cause serious permanant damage, not to mention it (rarely) can be fatal. I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude but it's hard because of all that's happened to him in the past year.I'm so greatful for information from other parents... Angel
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momuv4girls responded:
Hi,

My 9 y.o. dd has been on Lamictal for over a year now, with very good results.

I'm so sorry for all the difficulties you've had with your son, I understand how trying it can be having a child with a 'mood disorder'.

I have come to the conclusion the very best, fastest way to get your son on-track is to have a well qualified, expert child psychiatrist on your side. All child psychiatrists are not created equal, and have heard my share of horror stories.

I feel bad your son had to endure all those trials of meds that did not work - - unfortunately a lot of med stuff is trial and error, but the fact you say nothing has helped, makes me a bit leery of your son's Dr.

What is your feelings / experience with his pdoc (psychiatrist)?

Most of the time, it takes a combination of meds to stabilize our children - not one med. They generally need a mood stabilizer med (which is what Lamictal is), and often times a antipsychotic med. My dd is on, Lamictal, Risperdal and Seroquel, and doing the very best she ever has.

On a side note: If you can avoid generic at all cost, please do so . . . .Generic is NOT the same as brand, and most of the time is not as effective and possibly not work. Those children who have been on brand, then switch to generic, often de-stabilize when placed on generic... This is a fact, not just my opinion. You want the best chance for your son to improve, so by using brand, I believe his chance of getting better, more quickly.

I hope some of this info. helps, and again, I'm so sorry for you and your son's struggles. Please write back anytime if you would like any more information or support.

Take care, -Kathleen
 
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booklovermom responded:
Hi Kathleen!! You've responded to my posts in the past and I was SO Hoping that you were still here!! I've decided that when my J. is released from the hospital- probably in 2 weeks, I'm going to have a new child psych. for him. I won't bother listing all of the reasons. The doc. in the hospital does not believe he has ADHD and she does not want to treat him with stimulants or anti-depressants because she said it's the wrong sort of treatment for him and there is a year's worth of evidence that they don't work for him. Thank God for this doctor who is listening to me and sees the obvious!!!! I also like the fact that she wants to start one med. at a time so that she can see if something is not going to work. With his regular psych., he started 2-3 new meds. at a time and how can anyone know if one of those caused the ill effects or all??? Anyway, I tried reading the posts from people who have taken Lamictal (here on web md) but the posts were all from adults. I'm very interested to read about children taking Lamictal. My son's immediate problem is his extremely aggressive and impulsive/dangerous behavior. He is angry most of the time and can't seem to reason things out. In fact, I see that his grasp of reality is less now than it was a year ago. I know my son's symptoms are extreme and I'm curious to know if your daughters condition was extreme also... I'm worried that the Lamictal won't help. I'm really lacking in confidence as far as meds. go. But determined to keep trying. Angel-
 
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momuv4girls responded:
Yes, Angel, I'm still here.......

It sounds like your son's psychiatrist who is treating him now at the hosptial has very good knowledge about childhood bipolar - - is there a chance you could see her when J is realeased??

I agree about getting rid of the old one !! You have a history of him not stabilizing your son at all, starting multiple meds at a time and so forth..........all of that is concerning!!!

Maybe if J's current Dr. at the hospital can not see him when he gets out, that she could reccommend someone that is also knowledgeable in childhood bipolar.

As far as my daughter goes.........well, I have to say, her biggest issue is anger/aggression and impulse control when she's angry. Her symptoms have been under control this past 6-months, due to her medication. Her very first med way back when she was 7, was Risperdal. Risperdal alone helped her a lot, it targets aggression very well. After 5 months or so, depression hit her and that is when her pdoc (child psychiatrist) added the Lamictal. Lamictal takes a verrrry long time to titrate up. Dr.s are very cautious using it, especially in children, due to the rash. Hopefully they have already started your son on it in the hospital, because it takes a good 2-weeks to see any response from it, because they must go so slow. My daughter is on a dose of 100mgs per day, which is kinda low, some children go up to 200mgs. (Only Brand name, by the by - - NO generics) It is also helpful to dose twice a day, so I give her 50mgs in the AM and 50mgs in the PM.

Depression symptoms in children are very difficult to sort out. J's anger could be due to his depression ? ? Like I said in my earlier post, it usually takes several meds to stabilize our children the best. After your son reaches a certain level with the Lamictal, and you still see a lot of aggression, then his Dr. may want to add Risperdal, or Seroquel or ???

Since you've had such a rough journey, I would really like to see you get some good support. Have you thought to join the online support group: bpkids.org ??

They would assign you a support group with other children J's age. I've have belonged for over 2-years now, and frankly, don't know how I would have coped without them. Seriously, they have been my lifeline !!!! I have learned SO much from the other mom's, they are so kind and supportive. You need some guidence when you are dealing with an unstable child.

This illness is so isolating for us parents - - - we need to stick together !!!

Take care Angel, I hope your little boy comes home soon - - and comes home healthier than ever before !! Do something nice for yourself today !!

(((((HUGS))))) -Kathleen
 
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lobermann responded:
My DD doesn't have ADHD or any mood disorders, but she does have a seizure disorder and she was put on Lamictal as her first AED and it was horrible for her. She had horrible mood swings. She was mean as mean can get. I talked to other parents whose children who were on Lamictal and their kids didn't have the same reaction. But I did notice that most of them had their children on it for mood disorders vs seizures. I have wondered if that was the diffrence.
 
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GrayMatter7 responded:
Hello, I just joined WebMD because I was searching for a good parent blog about our children and their mental health. I specifically was and am searching for information on Lamictal (lamotrigine) myself as well. I will just briefly describe to you my child's experience with it thus far (initial stages). My daughter is 9 years old, diagnosed with ADHD (high scores on all four spectrums) when she was 5 years old. Since then, due to a number of tragic events in our family, etc. she was also diagnosed with PTSD and ODD. A number of drugs were tried initially but the one that seemed to work the best before this past 1 1/2 yrs has been Adderall XR 20mg daily. Things have now changed with all she has been through and her Adderall XR is now at 5mg in the am, clonidine (low dose) and guanfacine (low dose) for sleep and Citalopram (anti-depressant) 20mg. She is in trauma therapy and play therapy but in the last 3-6 months she has become more and more depressed, withdrawn with bouts of anger and aggression which ultimately culminated in physical aggression so her doctor said we should try the Lamictal. I was devastated of course, I didn't want to believe we might be dealing with bi-polar disorder but I really felt there wasn't a choice and she began the Latramogine 2 1/2 weeks ago. The doctor was very direct and comprehensive in explaining about the importance of the slow dosage increase process and the risk of rash, etc. I also did my own research. The dosing schedule she is on is 1 pill (25mg) per day for two weeks, and then up to 2 pills (50mg) for the next two weeks and 3 pills (75mg) per day for two weeks and so on. The doctor said not to expect to see changes until she was up to at least 75 mg safely. The first two weeks I was so nervous, checking how she was feeling, looking for any signs of rash daily but she seemed fine other than she was still very aggressive and eating nervously - not related to the drug. Two days ago, I moved her up to 2 pills a day and don't see any signs or side effects except for some irritability, very tired and an occasional headache, which is normal. I've read a lot and I think if I can get her up to a meaningful dose without the rash, it could really help her. It is just very frustrating to wait and deal with her aggressive behavior and not listening, etc. but the slower you updose them the safer they are from the effects of the rash. Try to be positive about this drug, the literature says that it is different from other mood stabilizers in that it is usually very effective in treating the patient and there are virtually no side effects. Hang in there and I try to give her as much love and encouragement as I can, even when she is at her most undesirable
 
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nyghtfire22 replied to GrayMatter7's response:
My 9 year old will be starting this med. i am worried about the rash. She will be taking it for anger. I hope it works
 
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momuv4girls responded:
Hi,

My daughter started Lamictal at age 9 (she is now 11), and for her it has been a wonder drug. If the Dr.s titrate slowly (starting at 12.5 or 25mgs) - then after 2-weeks bring his dose to 50mgs, 2-weeks titrate up again, then the risk of the rash is minimal. It can happen, but the chances are much lower with a slow titration.

I know it all can seem scary and no one wants to medicate their children, we just want them to feel better and lead a happy life. I totally get that.

If you haven't yet, I highly suggest you looking into the wonderful organization http://www.thebalancedmind.org/
Its full of parents like you and I trying to raise children with mood disorders.

Take care,
-Kathleen
 
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sonsmother1 replied to momuv4girls's response:
My son is taking the generic brand of lamictal. In the past he has tried intuniv, abilify, luvoc, and zoloft. All of the medications had bad side effects, so we kept trying new ones. The abilify worked the best, but we didn't like the side effects. The doctors have been telling us for a long time that lamictal is very effective for children that have anxiety and OCD. Basically my son's flight and fright response is overactive. Supposedly the lamictal calms this part of the brain and helps reduce anxiety. At first we thought it was working great, but then we noticed that during transition times he was still very anxious. He was taking 50mg in the am and then 50 in the pm. The problem was the medicine wasn't lasting long enough and we would have to hurry and make sure we would give it to him first thing when he got home from school. Now, the doctor increased it to 150mg, so we are suppose to do 75mg in the am and 75 in the pm. We just started this and he is still very irritable. I'm guessing it's going to take a few weeks to work with this new dosage. Is the generic as effective as the name brand? I heard the name brand is very expensive. Just wondering if anyone had had the same experience with their child where the behavior seems to get worse before it gets better. Can lamictal cause constipation or encompresis?
 
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momuv4girls replied to sonsmother1's response:
Hi,

My daughter used to take brand name Lamictal, but due to the cost, we had to switch to generic.......I was scared to make the switch for fear of her becoming unstable, but it actually went ok for her.

My daughter has been on lamictal for over 2-years now (she is almost 12), and everytime we needed to titrate her dose a bit higher, she became very irritable, but after 2-weeks, her body adjusted and the irritability went away.

We always have split up her meds. She takes Seroquel and her Lamictal in the morning, then takes her meds at bedtime too. I think it gives a better response that way.

Take care!!
-Kathleen
 
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sonsmother1 replied to momuv4girls's response:
Does she take lamictal for anxiety? I understand it is very effective for children's who have a overactive nervous system. My son has anxiety and gets easily over stimulated. He has been on lamictal since December. We are hoping this is going to be the right medication for him.
 
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momuv4girls replied to sonsmother1's response:
My daughter was diagnoses with mood disorder n.o.s. Anxiety is a big part of it ....

Lamictal works well for those who tend to be on the depressive side and yes, it has helped her anxiety a lot.

Titrating lamictal is slow, but once you get to an effective dose, hopefully your son's symptoms will improve greatly.

Is your son's Dr. a Child Psychiatrist?

-Kathleen
 
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An_243468 replied to momuv4girls's response:
My son sees a therapist and a psychiatrist. He is taking lamictal for anxiety and OCD related symptoms. Recently he has been having a problem with aggression. His therapist said this is normal in 12 year old boys, but we need to help him channel his aggression. I'm still wondering if he is on the right dose. Just curious what do most kids that are 12 take? He is not bipolar, but takes lamictal for what I previously mentioned. His therapist said that we can't just blame the medicine and he has to take responsibility for his own actions. Just hoping this is the right medication because we has tried several different types of medication for anxiety already.
 
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An_243468 replied to nyghtfire22's response:
My son had a slight rash, but then it went away.
 
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momuv4girls replied to An_243468's response:
Hi An_,

You don't mention what your son's dose is at. and how long he's been on the lamictal ?? Also, does he take any other medication?

Lamictal is a mood stabilizer medication - while it does help with anxiety, its primarily prescribed for mood stabilization.

12-year olds are tricky - even without mental issues. Is your son's father in the home? Can he help with the discipline side / aggression ?

More info. would be helpful, thank you!
-Kathleen


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