March 18, 2009,
M.H. asks from York, PA on March 15, 2009
Behavior Issues and Allergy Meds
Hello, I was wondering if anyone had any experience or insight on Allergy medicine and children's behavior. My son will be 8 in 3 weeks and has been on allergy meds for about 4 years now. He started out on Zyrtec and 2 years ago Singulair was added. He also needs a nebulizer, as needed, for a couple days in the Spring. He is borderline asthma. He has been on Allegra (taken off Zyrtec) for the past year and is still on the Singulair. I heard that there are reports of children having behavior issues when on certain allergy meds. I also heard of suicidal thoughts in children on Singulair. My son has MAJOR behavior and anger issues and disciplining him seems impossible these days. He even has some "suicidal talk" as well. I've talked to his doctor and he said that there is not enough to prove that there are suicidal thoughts in children on this medication and they feel comfortable enough still prescribing it. He is willing to discuss alternative meds though and we will be having an appointment for that soon. I don't want to just take him off it because his allergies/asthma is controlled.
I also wonder if he is better off seeing an Allergist because they, of course, specialize in this area. Also, maybe even getting him tested to see what exactly he is allergic to. I know though that getting in to see a specialist could take a couple months.
I also have not ruled out that part of it could be because he is a middle child. I've heard there are a lot of problems with that as well - "middle child syndrome". I am an only child and my husband is the oldest of 5 so we (I especially) can't relate.
I know I have brought up a lot, but I am a very open minded person and am willing to explore any and all avenues. My children are my life and I would do anything for them.
Thank your for taking time to read this and for your advice.
So What Happened?™
WOW! Thank you for all the great advice. I am open to any and all suggestions. My son does have an appointment with an allergist this week. I want to make sure he is being medicated properly. Although I have mixed feelings about what he is on, I also feel he needs to be on something to control his allergy/asthma. I also am monitoring his diet closer too, I never gave that a thought. Thank you so much! What a great resource Mamasource has been! I'm sure I'll be writing again soon for more advice. :)
M.W. answers from Philadelphia on March 16, 2009
Hi M.! Yes, we have experienced the same thing you described while my oldest son, 11 yr old, was on Singulair. He is the oldest of 4 and is our most challenging. He is very dramatic but also a very happy go lucky kid. Very friendly and outgoing and loves everyone. He was on Singulair for several years just during the spring and fall but then he went on Singulair year round when he was 81/2 or 9. Slowly his behavior changed. He became very moody and would get deprsessed and would say he wished he wasn't here. My husband and I thought maybe he had Bipolar disorder. Finally, I heard about the effects of Singulair and took him off. Within a couple of months he was back to his normal happy go lucky self and bouncing off the walls! It has been a year since we took him off and he is doing wonderfully! His asthma was ok for 7 months until December when the cold weather hit and then he started wheezing. The allergist put him on Asthmanex. It is a steroid inhaler which I don't like but am hoping that he will be able to go off by April.
I read the book by Dr Bock, Healing the new Childhood Epidemics which suggested a few supplements to help reduce the inflamation associtated with asthma. I have also just started taking him to a NAET doctor who is treating him for his food allergies, which is working. This doctor was recommended by a friend whose son was treated and now her son is allergy free. It has been 3 years since he was treated. This week the doctor will start on the environmental allergies. I am so hoping this will help him with his allergies and asthma. I would love to have him completely drug free!
I hope that helped! It is so difficult to know the right thing to do. But if you have noticed the personality changes in your son I would definately suspect the Singulair! There is another lady I met through my son's football team last year who went through the same thing with her son and Singulair. She had just taken him off when I met her. Our stories were identical!
1 mom found this helpful
L.S. answers from Lancaster on March 16, 2009
I agree with M. W. My child was 3 when he started with severe allergies. The family doctor put him in singulair and his behavior went NUTS. He did not sleep for 3 days straight, literally lay on the floor kicking and pounding, then would get up and run in circles, and if you got near him he would punch and kick. If you look at the side effects/adverse reactiions you will see insomnia, aggression are listed.
That's when I decided a family doctor or ped doesn't know enough about a specialty to prescribe allergy meds, so we went to an allergist. Then the rounds of allergy meds really began in earnest. And after a year, he was sicker. Needing a nebulizer, more respiratory stuff, sinus infections (which they prescribed antibiotics for constantly).
Then I decided to try more a holistic approach to our family's health care, because of a few horrid mistakes physician had made with family members. I felt mainstream medicine was failing us, and making us unwell.
With NAET and using the info in Dr. Bock's "Healing the New Childhood Epidemics", my child has not taken allergy med's in almsot 2 years - and has NO allergies. I'll never see an allergist again. They wanted to treat symptoms, not heal his immune system. He is still allergic to soy, but no med will help that - we are working on that in other ways. My child was soooo much better off the meds. It's crazy how many children take daily meds. When we were growing up, that wasn't the case. Of course, when we were growing up kids weren't sick and allergic to everything.
My understanding is that suicidal talk is often a side effect of children's long term meds. All medicines have side effects. They don't JUST fix the symptom you take them for. And they surely do not fix your immune issues that cause the allergy symptoms.
Frankly I am appalled and disgusted that you went to a doctor with a CHILD having suicidal talk and anger issues, and because the studies don't do enough to PROVE a connection, let's just let it go???? How many kids will it take? It's not HIS child, so is he willing to let YOUR'S be added to the tally? What exactly did he DO to address the anger and suicide talk? Blame your parenting? That's what most do. Offer to put him on psych meds? That would be using another med to treat the side effects of the current meds.
I plead with you to look into this further...don't be a statistic.
L.H. answers from Reading on March 16, 2009
I really don't have specific information for you BUT I see red flags flying all over the place. First off I can't imagine a pediatrician dismissing suicidal thoughts in a 9 year old especially one that is medicated with known medications that cause this in children! I'd be looking for a new pediatrician! I have experienced this with my 8 year old who was immediately put into therepy and it was never dismissed. Everyone took it seriously, from a 16 year old brother, the dr, school, teacher everyone! You need to too.
As far as seeing an allergist, good idea. The mising of tese drugs is outrageous. Find out what the problem is and then there is a solution, perhaps a natural one. NOt jsut stabbing in the dark hoping to hit it with this drug or that. I can tell you that allergies are a supressed immune system. The easiest thing to assist this is to give your child chewable vitamin C (500 mg) throughout th day. No more then 500 every 2 hours. This will help but I'm sure is not the only solution just a band aid. For allergies too, you could wrap your childs bedding, there are 3 levels of quality, On the box spring use the least expensive, the matress use the middle of the road and the pillow top of the line. Remove all stuffed animals, throw pillows, throw blankets, etc. Wash the bedding in hot water every week. Keep any animals out of the room and off limits. Look for any environmental factors in the room that might contribute and remove them. Laundry soap unscented everything and no softners, or dryer sheets. Look for reactions to foods too, that mightbe the culprit.
As far as the middle child thing, this is not normal behaviour for a middle chid. In my fmaily the middle child was the quiet one. Never loud or obnoxious, never the trouble maker. In my family I have 6 children the middle children seem to follow suit with no trouble at all. They are the easiest children of all. I think this is not a factor at all.
These are jsut a few broad coverage things to observe but never dismiss suicidal thoughts or behaviors in any child. It's then too late, if you dismiss it what do you have to lose by looking into it?
Have a wonderful week.
N.K. answers from Philadelphia on March 16, 2009
I guess my first question would be how bad are the allergies? If he's been medicated for 4 years, I guess they're pretty bad. I'd likely wean him off the meds and see how he does. But, to answer one of your questions, yes, definitely, see an allergy specialist. Make the appt. today, and those few months of waiting for it will fly by, as we all know.
On your other question, I am a middle child, and so is my husband. Neither of us are suicidal as a result. :) If you mean maybe he's just being dramatic for attention, then I guess you could blame it on middle child syndrome. Suicidal mentions should always be taken seriously, though. If you aren't sure he's just being dramatic, call a psych for an emergency appointment and get some advice.
T.L. answers from Pittsburgh on March 16, 2009
My daughter has asthma and allergies. We do see an allergy specialist who is amazing. I highly recommend it. But you are correct about the singulair. The doctor told me this when they prescribed it to my daughter. He said if I see any changes in her behavior that I should immediately contact him. I would go to a specialist. They will test him and maybe even give you alternatives. There is no reason why he should have to stay on these meds if they are causing him problems. God bless you and your family.
D.C. answers from Pittsburgh on March 16, 2009
I can't comment on the Singular/behavioral issue, but I do recommend the allergist. Personally, I've had really bad allergies my entire life. I recent went to an allergist for the 1st time - I had never bothered, because I knew I didn't want allergy shots and I thought that's all they ever recommended. But I had allergy testing (the blood test), found out I'm allergic to some things that I didn't know of (and a bunch of things I would have predicted) and she gave really specific information on how to limit my exposure to those allergens. If you want to limit meds, I'd make the appointment and have a lot of questions ready for the allergist on how to control symptoms by controlling exposure.
D.S. answers from Norfolk on March 18, 2009
Get you an appointment book from your local beauty supply place with 5 columns. At the top of each column put each name of the family member.
Put in activities for each member on a daily basis, inlcude yourself as well.
Bow out gracefully from everything that does not include your family.
Parenting classes are in order.
Good luck. Hope this helps. D.
N.P. answers from York on March 16, 2009
I'm not sure about the behavioral problems. My daughter and son have both been on allergy medications for a long time. Since about 6 months old! But of course all children respond differently.
I would definately go see an Allergy and Asthma specialist if your insurance covers it. We go to Allergy and Asthma in York on Whiteford Road. We really like them and we've had no problems.