About our Daughter

I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 13, 16, 17 and 20, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. She is in the very challenging teen years, and she is attempting a big public high school for the first time. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running, and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.

How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?

I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.
Never change, start or stop a medication without the approval of your child's physician!

Friday, March 12, 2010

One More Note on Amantadine: For ADHD

I just found that amantadine is being used on a trial basis by a Harvard medical school doctor as an ADHD drug for his patients. His name is Dr. William Singer and he has had very good results in his studies. I can completely believe this, as Caroline is far more focused on amantadine than she was on any stimulant, which she could never stay on anyway because of mania. Her ability to "do school" when from zero to spectacular within the first week she was on it. She has continued to do amazingly well academically, as she hasn't in years.

22 comments:

Bobby said...

Thanks for the info. I'm going to have to ask my Dr. about this. I really do not like having stimulants in my body and I have a feeling I'm going to be taken off them just because of what it does to my blood pressure. Has she ever missed a dose for a day or two and you noticed a change in concentration?

Megan said...

Without the amantadine Caroline gets very irritable and jumpy. She is supposed to have a "holiday" from it once a month for 48 hours, I think because her dopamine receptors (?) need the break. I am not totally sure why but I think I remember something about dopamine.

Heather said...

OK-- I think I got my sig synched...no longer "is"! Did you notice any extra sleepiness when you first started you daughter on Amantadine? That seems to be a little prob here? Hoping it will fade, as it has with other meds.

Megan said...

We didn't note sleepiness with Amantadine, but her other meds do make her sleepy in the am, esp Trileptal. I am guessing that because Amantadine is very calming to the brain, that it could cause sleepiness, but I do think it would wear off. Caroline doesn't feel sleepy after taking it for so many months, esp. because she does take it at noon too, with no soporific effect.

marythemom said...

Another cool thing about Amantadine is that it is an anti-viral - so our son who is on it rarely gets sick - apparently even when he French kissed a girl with H1N1 in the school hallway.

He can't tolerate ADD meds so I hope it is helping a little in that area.

Mary in TX

Megan said...

Yes, I knew about the anti-viral properties of amantadine, which was especially great for this past flu season as she can't get the flu shots due to an egg sensitivity. We are very happy with amantadine too.

ann said...

After reading the info and doing a lot of research on Amantadine, we decided to try this medicene for my son who is 8 years old. At first he was a little tired and I had to adjust the dosage to make it work. We started at a tsp. twice a day, then 1/2 tsp. twice a day. We found the perfect dosage to be 3/8 of a tsp. once in the morning, and at bedtime. It has been a week the school did not call me one day, and when I talked to the teacher she said the difference was like night and day. My son still becomes angry, but he has an easier time in not becoming as mad. He is able to come down quicker from the rages.
The therapist is working with him on techniques to help him manage his temper too.
Thank You for all the info and advice. I feel we are now heading down the right road.
Ann

Megan said...

Ann, I am so glad that Amantadine is having the same immediate effect we saw with Caroline. I hope that things continue to go much more smoothly!

ann said...

Hi Megan,
Thank you so much for posting all that you go through with your daughters. It is very hard to go through all this alone. The Amantadine is continuing to work for John. He is now taking a 1/2 tsp. in the morning and at night. I feel he may need the intuniv too. I am in between whiching drs. Do you know if the two medications can be used together safely? Should I only give him the amantadine or should I just add the intuniv starting with the 1 mg.?
Again thanks for all your help, God blessed with your children to help us all. Everything in our life happens a reason and what God brings to you he will get you through.
Ann

marythemom said...

Megan will probably answer this better, but my son was prescribed Intuniv while taking Amantadine.

Mary in TX

Heather said...

Hey Megan-- I am not sure how the BLOG thing works still - so not sure if you check old posts, but if you do... our son is now on Amantadine and I was hoping you could elaborate on the "break" once a month??? Also-- is there any way to ask "Ann" on that temper therapy??? My son can't even do play therapy -- I mean he will rage on the way and then, really gets no value. Thanks-- Heather

Megan said...

Hi Ann and Heather. Sorry for the hiatus. Yes, I think that Intuniv can be used with Amantadine. They are drugs that work in very different ways, not as if you are using two stimulants, or something totally contraindicated.

The Amantadine holiday was recommended by the doc at Meridell, and we have stayed on that course. Caroline gets 48 hours without it about once a month. My understanding is that is gives the dopamine receptors a break. That may not be the best explanation though.

The play therapy won't work if your child isn't on the right meds first. The success of therapy in an explosive child, in my opinion, is often dependent on whether the child is on the right medication to calm their brains. In our experience, Caroline was much more able to do therapy if she wasn't raging. Many therapists might not understand that raging can be less an indicator of anger as of a chemical imbalance. Even Mae our youngest is much more receptive to behavioural therapy when she has the Intuniv on board.

ann said...

The therapy that we are using with John is through the school therapists. John is unable to communicate as he becomes angry to quickly. We are trying to use cards that he can show the teacher with various colors of how angry he is getting, this not working yet. I have also purchased a weight vest to help him feel more centered, this is helping. He also likes to use a weighted blanket when he becomes angry, he says it helps him to feel grounded. A lot of the ideas are trial and error.
Hope this helps.
Ann

Heather said...

Well, dang it. As of Wednesday, my son has been having these MEGA rages... I asked about the Amantadine "holiday" and our pdoc said it was only necessary if needed - that the irritability would go up again -- well it has, and then these rages -- they're huge! I mean scratching his own arms, red in the face, screaming, crying rages. So we will try the "holiday" over the weekend. It never ends....

Megan said...

Heather, refresh my memory, what other drugs is your son on and what is his official diagnosis?

Heather said...

Dang it again! I wrote an essay and then got an ERROR message when I hit publish!!!!!Arghhh. Well, it was a bit long... so, my son is 9, dx of anxiety at 6, ADD by 7, BP at 8. But neither I nor pdoc think he's truly bipolar - he does fit that darned Temper Dysregulation with Dysphoria dx more... at worse he is irritable beyond belief and has explosive rage. He's on 1800 Trileptal, 10 Abilify, Clonidine for sleep and Amantadine for about a month which helped for the month. Now, out of the blue - uncharacteristic rage - clawing his arms, red faced, crying and screaming and thrashing and destruction - scary. Hence the holiday - starting back Sunday night. We'll see... any insight-- you are a very gracious blogger. I have started reading from the beginning! I'm a big fan of God as well. And the "Blindside"... I am just waiting for the chance to tell someone "You threaten my son, you threaten me." Thanks-- Heather

Megan said...

Heather, your son sounds somewhat like my youngest daughter who doesn't fit the bipolar checklist, but does have major irritability, explosiveness, and defiance. She is only on Intuniv, but I have thought about asking for a mood stabilizer for her. I am wondering about the Abilify, if your doc might need to bump him up. When kids start scratching themselves, cutting, going crazy like that, they seem to respond best to the atypical antipsychotics, at least this is what we have seen. Hang in there! I know how scary those episodes can be. They can seem possessed at times!

Digirl said...

Wow there are people out there with the same problems in their house, amazing. Our daughter is 13.5, diagnosed when she was 8. We are on our 3 psych. Been on every med out there. Still searching for the perfect med COCKTAIL. Currently on Ritalin, Lithium, Lamictal, Perphenazine, Geodon and Inuntiv. My friend told me about Amantadine, so I am wondering how this could help her current combo.

ann said...

Amantadine has helped my son with the mania and helps him to control the rages. He is 9.5 years old and has been on it for about 6 monhths now. He was evaluated with bipolar 8 months ago. The mix for him that works is 1 tsp. of amantadine in the morning after breakfast, 2 mg. of intuniv at 5 pm., and 2 mg. of resperdone at 9 pm. He recently is experiencing a lot of anxiety, he will make his self sick to his stomach worrying about things, I am not sure what to do about that. It is a constant readjustment as more symptoms appear.
Ann

Heather said...

We would not be the best to ask-- Amantadine was the cause of hospital stay #4. Every kid is diff though - good luck.

Megan said...

DigiGirl--I am just wondering if you have tried your daugher's med combo without the Ritalin? Stimulants and antidepressants can't be tolerated by most kids with bp disorder because they can worsen irritability, agitation, and mania. Have she always been on a stimulant? I would be leaning toward Intuniv and away from Ritalin, but obviously, ask your doc first! Amantadine may help too, but like Heather said, not every kid reacts the same way.

Digirl said...

Megan - we have tried ALL the stimulants and had terrible results. The reason for the Ritalin is to help wake her up in the morning because the Intuniv and Geodon like the tenex make her too drowsy during the day. Anyway the Ritalin is new to us as we had a bad trial of tenex years ago and faught the Dr. on trying it again. Than he wanted to try the Intuniv because it supposed to have less drowsiness. We just brought her back down to 2mg Intuniv from 4mg because she was a mess in the morning. So far NOT convinced it is the super med, at least not for her.