After our son’s recent rage and visit to the psychiatrist, we were left with 2 options. The first being to increase his current mood stabilizer, Trileptal, in hopes to level out his mood and thus remove the rages or we can add a third medication, Risperdal, to the treatment.
Risperdal is an antipsychotic that is very effective with anger and rages. The downside is that this medication moves us into the next level of medications that come with more risks and require ongoing blood draws to monitor his health and any possible side effects.
During our appointment, our psychiatrist flat out told us that if it were her child she wouldn’t use that medication because of the risk of Tardive Dyskinesia. This is a condition typically brought on by long term use of antipsychotic medications that produces uncontrollable, repetitive movements in the face. Now this doesn’t happen to everyone, it’s a risk like all the others, but our doctor explained that this condition can become permanent, which is why she tries to avoid it.
(I would like to share that this same doctor sent in a prescription for this medication to be filled by the pharmacy and had a nurse call us twice to start our son on these pills prior to this appointment. I find it disturbing that she would take these steps when we’re just a patient on the phone, but once we were in front of her, she advised us not to use this medication. Lesson learned: I will only change my son’s medications after I’ve met with our psychiatrist face to face.)
Then we have our personal experience with this medication. The boy I babysit is autistic and over the summer his parents tried Risperdal for his treatment. They found it to be the most effective medication they’ve tried to date, it completely leveled out his behavior, however, he gained 13 pounds in a month, he started to grow in the breast area and he developed a facial tick, so they had to take him off it and try another medication.
So with this information, we’ve chosen to continue to increase his mood stabilizer, Trileptal, praying that this will help him through his mood swings of anger he’s been feeling. But to be honest, if this doesn’t work and his rages continue to become more violent, putting us all in harms way, we may have to move on to Risperdal. I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we get there.
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And for those parents that are currently using Risperdal or considering it in the future, please don’t make any decisions based on what you read here, I pass no judgement on you, and I don’t claim to know better than any of you, this is just our experience with our psychiatrist and I know that as parents we’re all having to make tough decisions based on our own circumstances. In fact, I’m thrilled that for some families, this medication is helping their child tremendously.