Help!! 12 Yr Old Prescribed Ambilify

Updated on July 10, 2011
K.S. asks from Savage, MD
16 answers

Hello all, My son was diagnosed with depression & he is failing 6th grade. We have tried therapist, group consuling, just about everything but medications. He was recently prescribed Ambilify, but I am hesitant to give to him b/c it states it is mainly used to treat schizophrenia, which my son doesn't have. The Dr. says it helps with depression & mood disorders. Has anyone experienced this medication with there child? What was the outcome? Did it help or hurt? Please comments, I really need your feedback?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.F.

answers from Washington DC on

Hi. I am not a doctor at all, but my brother is paranoid schizophrenic, and he is on Abilify. However, I think the main reason why it is prescribed often for schizophrenics is because most have many mood disorders related to the schizophrenia. For my brother, he takes the Abilify for his bi-polar issues. Understand that most paraniod schizophrenics take a battery of anti-psychotic medication, and much of the medication decisions have to made based on what medications work well with others. I believe Abilify is often prescribed for schizophrenics b/c it does not interact negatively with many of the other, very potent, anti-psychotics that many SZ patients are also on.

Again, I'm not a doctor, just giving my non-medical guess for why it may be a commonly used drug for SZ patients. And you should feel free to discuss your concerns with his doctor as well -- it's very important for you to be an active participant in this portion of his care! If you don't feel like the doctor is giving you the peace of mind you need, or is not adequately addressing your concerns, you might want to consider looking for another one. Good luck, and congrats on being such an active, loving parent!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

K.R.

answers from Richmond on

Dearest K. ~

Medication can be very helpful, HOWEVER, WATCH HIM CLOSELY! There are risks of psychotic episodes in teens with these meds - I know - my son had one. VERY SCARY! Is the doctor a psychiatrist or just your family doctor? Make sure he is being diagnosed properly (see a professional in the field) and keep a very close eye on your child for the first month of being on any med like this. My son had a psychotic episode within 2 weeks of going on an antidepressant (I can't remember which one). He attempted suicide and I had him hospitalized immediately. The medication was changed (to Seroquel) and he did just fine. All is well now and he's off all meds.

Do get him help, just be careful. You are wise to be cautious. Don't dismiss possible adverse affects - be very aware of how your child is feeling, where he is and what he's doing at all times until you are sure the meds are working properly. I wish you the best.

~ K.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.M.

answers from Washington DC on

K.,

My main experience with ability was in an inpatient psychiatric treatment center with children. Psychiatrists would often prescribe it for children who are explosive. I never saw any side effects, but your doctor is prescribing it "off label". That means no one really knows the effects it will have with your son. Since, every child is different, there is no way to know if one person's experience will even be close to your experience.

I would suggest seeking a second opinion. BTW, what kind of doctor prescribed Abilify? Was it your pediatrican or a psychiatrist who specializes in working with children?

What kind of therapists have you tried? There are a lot out there and not all are trained the same. I could give you a few referrals. I work in mental health and have met quite a few people who can help, and some that wouldn't help. Let me know what I can do.

J.

D.S.

answers from Allentown on

Hi K.,

Write your concens to Dr. Laurie Dietzel. She specializes in mental health conditions for children.

her e-mail is [email protected]____.com

Good luck. D.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.C.

answers from Albany on

i would like to ask you , what kind of a Dr. prescribed this medication? have you got a second opinion? A PEDIATRICIAN? NOT A PSYCHIATRIST, NOT A SCHOOL RECOMMENDATION?ARE THEY STARTING ON THE LOWEST POSSIBLE DOSE? what kind of things are going on, that are THAT severe, that they would consider medicaiton. are the behaviors interfering with their life? and in what way? at home? at school? friends? i think you are doing the right thing by asking questions, BUT ASK MORE, LOOK DEEPER, really look deeper,
look for answers to questions such as, WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN THEY START TO TAKE IT?
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE TAKE THEM OFF? DO YOU HAVE TO WEAN THEM OFF? IS IT ADDICTING? WHAT KIND OF WITHDRAWL WILL HAPPEN TO MY CHILD AFTER HE QUITS TAKING IT? IS IT ONE OF THOSE MEDICATIONS, THAT HAS PHYSICAL SIDE EFFECTS? , BUT HERE IS WHAT ONE TRIAL I READ SAID,
SEE IF YOU CAN GO TO PUBMEDED AND LOOK UP TRIALS, HERE IS WHAT ONE SAID, Diabetic ketoacidosis induced by aripiprazole in a 12-year-old boy. case of hyponatremia in a patient that occurred 3 days after initiation of treatment with aripiprazole. We caution clinicians to be aware that the potential hyponatremic-inducing effects of atypical antipsychotics can occur rapidly after initiation of the medications ABOUT WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN TAKING AMBILIFY, Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is usually a late-developing, well-known neuromuscular adverse effect associated with the long-term use of first-generation (typical or conventional) anti-psychotic agents, such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine, Glaxo-SmithKline), haloperidol (Haldol, Ortho-McNeil), and fluphenazine (Prolixin, Apothecon). After months to years of therapy with dopamine-2 (D2) receptor–blockers, patients often experience involuntary choreiform, athetotic, or ballismic dyskinetic movements. These movements most commonly involve the mouth, tongue, facial muscles, and upper extremities. Axial dyskinesias may also occur.Typical risk factors associated with the development of TD include older age, pre-existing movement or neurodegenerative disorders, female sex, the presence of affective illness, and neuroleptic exposure of more than six months.Another patient who was developmentally disabled with obsessive-compulsive disorder was treated with aripiprazole 10 mg. This patient experienced an acute dystonic face, tongue, and arm movements as well as upper limb athetosis. These acute dystonic events were alleviated with diphenhydramine (Benadryl, Pfizer).15 With their ability to reduce the risk of EPS, the atypical antipsychotic agents are the current drugs of choice for schizophrenia and bipolar illness as well as for many off-label applications. Almost all available SGAs have been linked to cases of TD, and a larger naturalistic evidence base is developing as patient exposures increase over time. Therefore, we need to continuously monitor individuals treated with antipsychotic medications regardless of their dose, diagnosis, or choice of SGAs over the conventional antipsychotic drugs. THERE ARE PROBABLY ALOT MORE,

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

S.C.

answers from Washington DC on

I take Abilify and I do not nor never did have anything close to schizophrenia. It is used for many different reasons. It actually is a helpful drug. I am a teacher-tell me what reason did your son be prescribed the meds? I am on them because I get in moods that are down often. My hubby is in Iraq and feel okay sometimes but others very depressed. Abilify(while an expensive drug) works well.If your son moods fluxuate , it could have been prescribed for a mood stabilizer...no need to worry it is not used for schizophrenia 99.9% of the time. email me if you wish at [email protected]____.com

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.R.

answers from St. Joseph on

My daughter has been on Abilify for almost a year now and it works great for her. She does not have schizophrenia either. She has been diagnosed with depression,ODD, ADHD, and shows signs or bi-polar. It works great for us.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

P.H.

answers from Washington DC on

Dear K.,
I sure do understand your hesitation! I've had depression for years (treated, with periodic 'tune-ups'). It's a disease like any other that is chronic and NOT a character defect.

There are many anti-depressants on the market, but I think your doctor is hesitating to prescribe them for your son because research has shown that giving them to a child under 18 MAY increase the risk of suicide. Ask him/her if that is why they aren't giving an anti-depressant to your son.

If that is indeed the case, then by all means, try the Abilify. Just keep an eye on your son's behavior and try not to worry about possible side effects (hard to do!).

God bless,
Pam

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.K.

answers from Washington DC on

My daughter who is amost 12 was put on abilify for anxiety depression and conduct disorder. I believe the abilify has helped her 100 %. She is happier,and her behavior has improved at home and in school. She is not bu any means perfect but she is much more enjoyable to be with. We are a blended family with 5 kids. She finally seems to be realizing that she is not the center of attention. A lot less outbursts. I would give it a try.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.S.

answers from Washington DC on

Dear K.,
I recently did some research of my own on Seroquel, another anti-psychotic because my brother in law was put on it for his mental illness. I read several things about anti-psychotics being dangerous for children. Certainly, I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist, but I have been on anti-depressants for depression and anxiety for over 10 years and have found them extremely helpful. Many of them have been on the market for a long time therefore providing us with more research about how they affect young people, pregnant mothers and their fetus. I think I'd request trying something more like zoloft (an anti-depressant) before I'd try the anti-psychotic. I strongly believe in psychiatry, but I am often hesitant that doctors have agendas that guide them with their prescriptions. It's seems like these "atypical anti-psychotics" are rather new so I'd be a little weary of giving it to such a young person. The ambilify will make your son very tired. I know this b/c it makes my brother in law very tired. That could be ok, if given at night to help with sleep. Does your son have difficulties sleeping?
Also, is your son showing signs of manic depression/bi-polar disorder or is he more clinically depressed and showing no signs of extreme highs/lows? The ambilify is supposed to be very helpful for bi-polar in helping to regulate moods and easing the highs and lows. If he is showing signs of mania the ambilify may be better than the alternative which is often lithium.
Like I said, I'm not a doctor but I do think we have to be in charge of our own medical treatment b/c there's a lot of things being done in the medical field that are questionable. If your gut is telling you that you don't want to put him on this drug then I think you should trust your instincts and either question the dr about starting him out on a anti-depressant or seek a second opinion. You've come this far, you've done a lot to help him one more doctor won't hurt. It will just make you feel more confident about the treatment plan you are implementing with him. I also think that talk therapy is really important and seeing good psychiatrists are too. Don't deal with just a primary care when using psychiatric meds. That can be dangerous. They don't have the knowledge and training that psychiatrist have with medications. I know this personally. I had my anxiety under control for probably 4 years and was off medication and doing great. Then my primary care prescribed me a medication for weight loss that she said was totally safe. I took 1 pill and was sick for 2 days. I panic attacked all night long, didn't sleep. It was horrible. Luckily I was able to talk myself down each time by saying, it will wear off. Not too much later the anxiety came back and now I'm back in treatment. I'm not saying that the medication brought it on permanently, but my psychiatrist said that I should never ever be put on anything containing a stimulant. My primary care knew I had an anxiety disorder, but she didn't know enough about medications and their effects on moods. Needless to say, I'm now seeing a new primary care along with a psychiatrist. I will never take anything without asking my psychiatrist first, this means over the counter stuff too. By the way, I am seeing Dr. Pritt in Bel Air. He's very nice, extremely knowledgeable and the staff is great. He does pediatric psychiatry as well. If you happen to be in Harford Co. Md. maybe you might want to give him a try. They are also insurance friendly. As you know this all can become extremely expensive.

Best of luck to you! And, just continue to read everything you can on medications to make yourself an informed mom.

M.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.W.

answers from Charlottesville on

Hi K.

I do not have any personal experience with it with my own children, but my father is a foster parent of one boy who like your son was put on Ambilify and he has changed dramatically for the best. He was failing in school, had anger problems and extremely tempermental. After about a week on the Ambilify his behavior improved measurably. With in a month his teachers were noticing a change in behavior in him and his school grades started improving. He has been on the medication for about 3 months now and is now getting all A's and B+'s in school where he was failing all but one and in that class he was carrying a C-. I hope this helps ease some of your worries. I know I had to go through the "do I really wanna drug my kid" stage when my 16 yr old daughter was diagnosed with a "mood" disorder. Her Psychiatrist does not want to label her as being bipolar as a minor, but that is basically what she has. I am glad that I decided to put her on the medications, they have improved her moods, the overall tension in the house and alot of the issues we were dealing with in school with her skipping school, smoking and just overall causing trouble. Good luck with whatever decision you make and feel free to contact me any time if you'd just like to talk.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.M.

answers from Norfolk on

You must feel so helpless. Above all, pray. What kind of doctor are you using? What does your pediatrician say? I would get on line and research side effects and talk to your pharmacist, please. I am so so leary of these drugs they want to give children. Maybe like adults, he needs a change of lifestyle. Getting involved with church youth groups, we're Catholic and they have them, or Scouting is really nice. Sports are good stress relievers, ice hockey, baseball and lacrosse are really good ones for boys, even art and music! As an ex-art teacher, middle school, I'll tell you some of my best students were the ones like your dear son.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

W.L.

answers from Washington DC on

I think a second opinion is reasonable to pursue. Also, consultation with a nutritionist could help. Changing his diet may make a world of difference. Eliminate refined sugar, artificial sweeteners (poison), and processed foods. I would be very careful about giving any anti-psychotic medication to a child. Ambilify is relatively new and may not have well documented side-effects. Unfortunately, you have to go with the "experts" advice and try to make the best decision for your child. I agree that if you decide to give him the drug, watch him very closely. You are in control when it comes to your child's health. You may need to be persistent, like one of the other moms who wrote to you, in order to get the best care.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.B.

answers from Miami on

My 15 yr.old daughter currently takes this- and she has had no side effects. I know it's scarry because there have been cases where anti-depressants have created more problems, or brought on suicidal tendancies in teens. My advice is for you and your doctor to monitor your son closely. Just talking with him alot about how he's feeling, physically and mentally-keep the bond close.And know that it's okay to need a little extra help, like meds., sometimes. I wish you the best!!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.M.

answers from Washington DC on

i do not know any children who take this medicine, but i do know adults who take this medicine for depression, with much success. it really helps with anger and agitation that are often associated with some forms of depression. don't let the schizophrenia label scare you - since most of the psychotropic drugs work on the brain chemicals, they may get approved for one use but be very effective with other disorders as well. in this case, originally for schizophrenia, but helps with certain types of depression and mood disorders as well. if you go to their website and read all the information you will see that is a safer drug from an "overdose" perspective. i also know from a course i took in psychopharmacology that the drug does not work like other depression medications, which means that the side effect of "increased thoughts of depression" that is often associated with the typical medications is not as much of an issue, and it has minimal side effects overall. but again, this is for adults, and it always pays to do the research.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

A.B.

answers from Charlottesville on

K.,I am sorry that your son suffers from depression. I cannot say I understand but I do want to ask if you have sought other reasons for depression?  A year ago my 10 y.o son would come home and want to go straight to bed.  He was fatigued and did not want to do anything but want to watch tv.  He complained about body aches a lot also.  He was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 6 months later with much of my persistence.  Doctors do not look for other things sometimes just what is obvious and right in front of their noses.  You may want to do some research (food allergies, hormone imbalance). Praying for you and your son. A.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches