We adopted a little boy, that has severe psychiatric issues. He is currently residing in a psychiatric facility for children. That facility would like to begin him on medication, as they feel therapy is not working. The drugs are: Risperidone and Tenex, our hesitation is that our son's biological father died of a heart issue at 22. We had a pediatric evaluation of our son's heart that detected a murmur. He is six years old.
First of all-I'd like to say thank you for not rejecting a boy because he has psychiatric issues. When I was a teenager, I was hospitalized for psychiatric issues, and there were several teens and children there who were doing fine mentally, but because they'd had psychiatric issues in the past, no one was willing to even foster them-much less adopt them. Thank you for seeing there's more to us than our psychiatric problems.
To your question: I've been on Risperidone in the past and am currently on basically the same medicine as Tenex right now-Intuniv. The only difference is how fast they enter the system.
My father had his first heart attack in his twenties, another in his forties, had two bypass surgeries, and was in and out of the hospital for various heart-related reasons until he died of a heart attack in his late sixties-far longer than anyone thought he would make it. He was on no medication other than what they prescribed for his heart. I'm his biological daughter, so I worry about my heart a lot too, and hear and understand your concerns, (as best as I can-I don't have a child), about putting him on medicine that could affect his heart at such a young age when his father died early of a heart attack.
I can only tell you my experience and opinion. I too have been diagnosed with a heart murmur. I'm told in children they're actually pretty common and can come and go throughout childhood. My doctor told me that most heart murmurs aren't due to underlying disease (unless there are symptoms besides the murmur, which the heart workup would have caught. I'm assuming it was a small murmer they didn't need to do anything about as you didn't add any information about that. I apologize if I'm wrong. I also don't mean to dismiss your worry-it is something to be aware of and consider.)
My psychiatrist didn't hesitate to put me on Risperidone, as a 12 year old, even knowing my father's history. I took it for a year, was switched because it didn't work. Intuniv has been good for me, I've been on it for years. I have had my heart checked because of my father's heart problems recently, and it's still very healthy.
The problem I see here is weighing the possible risk with the possible gain. Your son might have health problems in the future if he takes these meds-while we can estimate the risk-no one can say for sure. However, the medicines may help him live a better life. Also important to consider: he may not need these medications forever. i don't know his diagnosis, but I do know a lot of strides are being made in the natural fields right now.
I take many medications that I know may shorten my life span, and/or cause me more health problems in the future, (not talking about Intuniv-I'm on a lot of medication), but the medications together make my life more enjoyable and I don't think it's a stretch to say I don't think I'd be able to function outside a hospital without them. I feel it's worth it.
I wish you the best of times, the best of health, for you and your son.
- Risperidone Information for Consumers
- Risperidone Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Risperidone (detailed)
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