Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wonderfully Imperfect

Gus has been off Strattera for a few days now. I will admit, he's a little less focused and a little more hyperactive. I find myself having to tell him to do something ten times instead of eight. And ya know what? I'm so happy!

The Strattera seemed to suppress something essential in him. He became 'dulled.' I can't go so far as to say he was like a zombie, but he certainly lost his light. Sure he was calmer, but he wasn't Gus. Even the bus driver, who hadn't seen him since last summer, immediately noticed the difference.

As much as I'd like him to be able to focus, I don't want to lose all the parts of him that make him special. He's laughing again. He's running and animated (boy is he running and animated!) He's joking and singing - exuberant! I'd be an idiot to not want this version around. And he's sleeping again, thank heavens! One very interesting thing - I took him to a crowded beach today and he didn't have single problem. (He had two minor incidents last week, in a much smaller crowd of beach-goers.)

I'm sure that there are many people in the world who think the dull version is more socially appropriate, just because he was quieter, but they can, quite frankly, bite me.


  1. I wouldn't dare!

    It's an uncomfortable trade off isn't it. Glad he's whizzing about again.


  2. I just came across this during an internet search and it's a few months old now so I don't know if you'll get notified of my response but:

    As someone that takes Strattera, I have for some time, I know what you mean by "duller" (I've been told it by others). But in the long run (even in the short run) "duller" is a whole lot better from this side of things.

    As a parent of an ASD child I am considering trying this for my son (he falls into the prime candidate category) and I am readying myself for him to be "duller". Sure it'll be a bit of a lose for me, after being used to that unbridled exuberance. But in the end this isn't about me, is it?

  3. I hope it works out for your son. For us, there weren't enough benefits to justify keeping him on the medication and the side effects were prohibitive. He lost weight (which is the last thing he needs) and he became aggressive on the medication, which he is not normally. He became more emotional and was just an unhappy kid.

    You're right, it wasn't about me, but my son was unhappy and that was not acceptable.

    Thanks so much for your comment! And although I haven't posted to Autism is Red in a whole, I post there occasionally and I post at My Autism Insights almost every day about a variety of autism related topics. Have a great weekend!

  4. Aggressive sounds like too high a dosage. I looked back through your posts and I'm not sure that your specialist considered this?

    There are guidelines and "norms" but there are a small percentage of people that metabolize the Stratterra much slower (this is why proper procedure is to start very small dose). For example I am approx. 200 lb and I only take 18 + 25/day. Yeah, 40 isn't quite enough and 60 is WAY too much, it can be that fine controlled over time because Strattera is one of those drugs that builds up to a load in your system and then you maintain it. I can also simulate this load fairly close by taking 60mg every 18 hours or taking 60/40/60/40/60/40/40 for the week. I have a really good drug plan but if you don't Strattera is priced per/pill so my 18+25 costs twice as much as the above. *shrug*

    At 60mg, from the inside out, within a week I am angry ALL THE TIME. For no discernible reason to myself, I'm just very, very ANGRY about something nameless. It's very unnerving. I became aggressive over very little things. But dialed back to the correct dose I get the benefits and no anger.

    I also have to be strict on my GF diet otherwise 43mg/day isn't enough. If I accidentally eat a significant amount of gluten (for me 1/2 a slice of bread is seriously significant) I have to go up to 60mg/day. This can happen over time for me too if I don't keep out small amounts gluten contamination like soya sauce.

    Then I go on a cleansing type diet to clean up my GI. At that time I have to be extra careful because my absorption will increase (plus if you use one of those holistic "cleanse" kits or such it can mess with you head by itself as you rearrange your body's chemistry). So you need to be cautious around major diet changes as it is possible to influence your absorption rate.

    Most of this I learned by myself (Straterra's own documentation that you can fine online for example talks about the low metabolism in some people). I have a pretty good doctor but you gotta do your legwork too and listen to your body. For example I have learned how to within hours I know when I've missed a pill, I can "feel" it. It is something that is difficult to deal with, you have to be somewhat self aware which is why I've been holding off with our own son. I'm not suggesting "do this now" with your son. All I'm suggesting is you not close this door permanently. (( I haven't read your whole blog, has your son being doing work on self moderation/self awareness, "How does my engine run" or stuff like that? ))

    You have to remember that, as dramatic of results that you can get, that Stratterra (or other drugs) are NOT going to make decisions about your son's actions. They'll give him something now, the option to make decisions about his actions. That is something very wonderful and powerful but it can take time to break old habits learn to fully take advantage of this new opportunity.

    Frankly I'm not "done" with this process after a few years. :) But then I had well over 30 years of habits and mental junk to unlearn and clear out when I started. It was hell to say the least, damn near cratered my marriage. The longer it is put off the more habits and junk, and the deeper ingrained, there will be for him to unlearn. My therapist warned me going in at the start that divorce was likely because my SO was going to need to change their behaviors to me too. That my SO might not want the change, they might not like the "new" me because the old one was more convenient or familiar, that stored in them was part of my "habit" and that they could in fact be detrimental for my progression. The therapist was dead on, I had to work harder because I chose to try keep my SO in my life. It was difficult for my SO to give me what I needed to "get better" ... something that immediately came to mind when I read your post. *shrug*

    P.S. One more thing the therapist mentioned that I think is applicable here. A lot of what I considered my "normal" behavior was going to change but who I was at the core wasn't going to, this super revved up engine was still going to be there. I was just going to moderate it for the better, have it more under my control rather than it controlling me.


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