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Equasym XL

(15 Posts)
willowthecat Tue 30-Aug-11 17:40:49

ds1 has just been prescribed Equasym XL 20mg which I believe is slow release ritalin. We are extremely pleased with the results after only 2 days. He is much calmer,more focussed and has far better substained concentration.

What I was really wondering was although I know it works by firing up the brain to concentrate and stimulates the parts of the brain that are supposed to calm you down (dopamine production) - what would happen if an NT chilld took the medication (not planning this obviously !! just pure speculation). I am just amazed at how calm ds1 is on a stimulant medication. Would an NT child just go completely hyper ?

sickofsocalledexperts Tue 30-Aug-11 19:00:11

I think it all depends on whether the brain chemistry is the "right" one for ritalin. My boy, though certainly hyperactive and ASD, reacted really badly to concerta (same family as ritalin). It made him calm for 2 hours, that part went really well at school, but then for the rest of the day he was manic, violent (unusual for him) and became really routine-bound - became fixated on me and DD sitting absolutely still in the same chairs, same positions, for hours. Tantrum from hell if we so much as crossed our legs. It was really odd, like his brain had become all jangled up. He also lost loads of weight and in the end I think it contributed to his leaving mainstream as his moods and aggression became really bad. He was just not the happy, easygoing, smiley boy of old. It was, in the end, too much of a price to pay for that blissful 2 hour period of calm, where he could work and concentrate.

My theory, looking back is that it only works for kids with a certain kind of ADHD/hyperactivity, whereas perhaps my boy's is just part of his autism, rather than a separate hyperactivity diagnosis if you see what I mean. He actually doesn't now qualify for an ADHD diagnosis, as is now able to work calmly at school (mainly due to the ABA).

Or, maybe I should have gone for the slow release, and then there would have been less of a chemical "dump" as the drug wore off.

We also tried strattera, and we tried a combo of the two, so we gave it a good shot. But I still wonder about it all.

Am v glad it is going well for you, sorry for tale of woe, but will be v interested in your progress. There is a boy at DS's school whose mother cannot sing the praises enough of ritalin, says it has transformed her boy's and her family's life 10000% for the better. So don't listen to me!

mariamagdalena Tue 30-Aug-11 21:59:13

We used it for ds, and it made all the difference to year 1. He actually stood some chance of sitting in his chair and refraining from hitting the other children. And he managed to learn some stuff as well. He now takes Concerta which is similar but wears off a bit later in the evening (so it more or less covers after school club).

The rebound hyperactivity has been a problem, and some of his perkiness goes when he's taking it, there were a few tummy aches and it does reduce his appetite. He is still quite hyper but when we tried a higher dose we had similar, though nowhere near as dramatic, side effects to those sickof talks about. That said, he does have an asd diagnosis as well (interestingly, before the meds he couldn't sit still long enough to do the ADOS autism test)

In hindsight the higher dose was my unconscious effort to try & medicate the autism away. Which of course was never going to work.

magso Wed 31-Aug-11 12:28:04

I think the theory is that if an NT person takes methylphenidate it acts as a stuimulant and they get itsy and hyperactive.
Ds (asd) also had trouble with the rebound of immediate release single dose but is ok with slow release because I suspect that medication dose and how his body is managing is more consistent - rather than up and down all the time .

willowthecat Wed 31-Aug-11 15:22:54

Many thanks for all the answers. It does seem that slow release is (or can be) the key to making it work. We have not noticed any rebound effect (4 days in) so I hope this will continue to be the case, it has not affected his sleep either which was also mentioned as a possible side effect. All in all we are still very pleased with just how calm and focussed he is - he will now play quietly with an I pad/I phone app for long periods of time whereas before he would flick from game to game quite rapidly almost as a kind of stim.

Mariamagdalena - can I ask what the high dose was ? ds1 was actually prescribed 20mg but we are only giving him 10mg at the moment as suggested by Consultant who said was best to start at lower dose.

Thanks Magso - although I know there is a theory behind it all, it still seems so odd that a stimulant can make a child slow down and focus !

louey76 Tue 25-Oct-11 20:56:49

hi my son took his first equasym xl tablet today and is still side eyed ..he is normally sound asleep by now ,,can anyone help ?

louey76 Tue 25-Oct-11 20:59:04

wide eyed *

willowthecat Tue 25-Oct-11 21:23:30

We didn't have this side effect with Equasym XL so definitely something to watch and report back to the consultant/paed - We were told it was a known side effect but luckily not for us

louey76 Tue 25-Oct-11 21:26:49

ok thank you willowthcat .......have you had any side effect at all ? i was really worried about putting him on it sad

willowthecat Tue 25-Oct-11 21:30:41

No - it really does help him calm down and stay focussed for much longer. At the very start, it seemed as if possibly he was getting upset for longer (ie staying focussed on upset !) but this has faded out now and he is very relaxed. He also seemed to lose his appetite a little for the first two weeks but again this has not lasted and he eats normally. It 's natural to worry about any medication and you have to balance good effects with any possible down sides. Is it making him more able to focus and concentrate ?

louey76 Tue 25-Oct-11 21:41:39

he only took his first table today ..i have seen a change ,more calm and relaxed ,,,and i asked him if he felt ok and his reply was he feels "happy" ...so too me there is def a change there ..after 7/8 hours he bacame quite moody .and aggresive ..back to the son i know x

paranoid2 Tue 25-Oct-11 22:23:02

My Dt2 was prescribed 20mg of equasym xl with a dose of 5mg quick release after school. However we dont do the extra dose anymore as he wasnt sleeping until after 10pm. Not getting to sleep is a common symptom. He is fine now with taking the 20mg at around 8 am.
Another common symptom is losing appetite when a child takes it initially. We had this but after a couple of weeks this stopped. I didnt notice any change in his reaction regarding sleep as time went on. We have been on it for 3 years. I would give it a go for a while to see how things go

louey76 Tue 25-Oct-11 23:11:23

I really am thinking of not giving him it in the morning sad as he is still wide awake and quite upset that he can't sleep sad I feel awful giving it to him now :'(

paranoid2 Tue 25-Oct-11 23:20:13

I dont think you are going to be able to assess the benefits/drawbacks if you dont give it to him for more than 1 day. Ok so he is tired tomorrow. He may go down earlier tomorrow night, if not maybe the next night and he could be fine when he gets used to it. It was only after using it for a while that I was able to work out that by giving a dose at 3pm albeit of the quick release equasym , that this was causing him to stay awake and that the 20mg in the morining was ok.

louey76 Tue 25-Oct-11 23:26:18

I don't want to be a failure but his sleep pattern was always perfect ,he is on 10mg with his breakfast ...

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