Child refusing meds

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    • #56790
      marissa.l.birch
      Participant

      My 9 year old daughter was recently diagnosed. The first round of meds made her really sick so we are trying a new one, but she had trouble with the capsules, gagging and spitting them out no matter what we tried. We are offering to break them up and let her take that way, but now she is refusing any more medication. Short of hiding them in her food, has anyone been able to get a stubborn child to take their meds? I’ve tried everything including bribery. She won’t budge.

    • #56801
      David
      Participant

      I don’t have kids, so I don’t know how well my advice would be, but I can give this in lew; I can’t blame her. The first one’s made her sick, and the second ones she gagged on. I’d be pretty darn wary of them myself if my first experience was bad and my second experience none the better. It sounds like she’s a little afraid of the effects and maybe of gagging and choking on them.
      Like I said, I don’t have kids myself, but I have a lot of experience in being one once, so I like to think I’m able to relate to how they think and feel. Ask yourself if it’s a matter of how you approach the situation; is the situation a matter of how the child is reacting, or is the situation a matter of what the child is reacting to – and which one are you reacting to and how? If the meds made me sick, I wouldn’t want to take them either. And if she’s gagging on them, they may be to big or she may have trouble swallowing them. Has she had trouble in the past with swallowing other pills, such as aspirin? If not, were they smaller than the ones she’s taking now?

    • #56832
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      It seems that the reasons for her refusal are pretty obvious, but I would still have that conversation with her. Ask her to list the reasons she doesn’t want to take the medication. Then, discuss the positive aspects of taking ADHD medication, and why you think she should try another, because she will likely get great benefit, when you find the right medication for her.

      Here’s guidance on having that talk:

      How to Talk to Your Child About ADHD Medicine

      You don’t say which medications she has tried, but there are other formats. Quillivant is a liquid. Vyvanse can be opened and sprinkled on food or in liquid to drink. Daytrana is a transdermal patch. Sometimes, going with one of these alternatives and taking the path of least resistance can turn things around.

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #56922
      shudson76
      Participant

      I have to give a 3 year old meds for adhd and anxiety hes not able to understand how to swallow pills. I have no choice but to do liquids, or put in a favorite drink. You can also try ice cream to disguise it. It sounds horrible but if it works great! You can also start small. Offer just a small part of the pill and offer a drink to instantly wash it down. Slowly increase size. If not I agree patches etc are other options.

    • #58605
      gentlygenli
      Participant

      Opened or crushed in a spoon full of favorite jelly works for some folks.

    • #58853
      corcoach
      Participant

      You left out a crucial bit of information, what is the primary reason for her being on meds? Focus at school? Better behavior controls? Just feels better? I’m an adhd dad with two adhd kids. We all take meds because they help us – but in very different ways. Kids are sometimes resistant to meds for reasons beyond the obvious. My son said it made him “feel like a freak”. Kids want to feel normal. At 9, I would surprised if your daughter was not acutely aware that she’s “different” and that feels bad when you’re 9. The adhd meds may be a daily reminder of that. I do not know if your daughter is back in school yet, but she may be hearing things that upset her. In my experience, teachers and kids can make little comments that make adhd kids more uncomfortable than they already are. “I could have gotten an A, too, if I had drugs that make me focus!”. “Drugs AND accommodations?!? How many advantages are your parents going to give you?!?” Those are two of many such comments my kids have heard at school. Does your daughter feel like she is a partner with you and the physician in making the decision to go on meds? 9 is certainly old enough to rebel against something she thinks she is being “forced” to do. It may pay for you two to get some children’s library books, go to an adhd support group, or have another talk with whichever doctor prescribed her meds. At 9, a basic discussion of pluses and minuses may allow her to feel like she has a little more control over her treatment, which is something she is going to need more of as she gets older. As difficult as it is to get a 9 year old to take meds, you have NO chance with a teen. They need to be onboard with their treatment and want to take their meds for THEIR benefit. Also, as her body starts to change, adhd will start to look different to her and you. There are a number of doctors, many of them women (thankfully!!!), that are studying how dramatically different adhd looks in girls and women. And there are strong studies indicating the level of estrogen in her body impacts her adhd symptoms. Information like that, presented to her at her level of understanding, may go a long way to getting over the medication hurdle. But, again, what’s the primary driver? For my son, it is school. On meds, he does great work. Off meds, I usually got a call from the principal’s office before noon. It didn’t take him long to realize how important his meds are to, literally, surviving school. My daughter hasn’t seen results as dramatic and is more causal about her meds. But, she and I both agree that when she’s on meds and gets upset, it is less distressing to her and the family. There are still lots of blowups, but they are less severe and, as a result, less exhausting for her. When kids can see the pluses outweighing the minuses, they tend to jump onboard. But, we, the adults, need to keep in mind these are strong meds with side effects that can be unpleasant and make sure that we listen to their complaints and respect their feelings. Schools and doctors do a wonderful job of shaming parents of adhd kids into believing we must do something right now!!! Sometimes, you have to try a LOT of meds to find the one where the pluses outweigh the minuses. That’s a difficult task for adults. It can feel like hell on earth to an adhd kid. Patience, open dialogue, safe to discuss feelings, and tracking how the meds help, can make kids feel like they are true partners in their care. Best of luck. Remember the key to “sanity” as a parent of an adhd child is to not sweat the small stuff and take time out to laugh. Both my adhd kids have absolutely wicked senses of humor. They have both had me in tears from laughter. Now, that they are teens, it’s dull around the house when they are gone. Enjoy the freedom of both of you embracing being “different”. You, obviously, love her a whole lot or you wouldn’t be here looking for answers. That loves goes farther than you know. She’s going do great and the medicine challenge will get resolved. Maybe, not this month, or next, but eventually. The school’s or the doctor’s time table doesn’t have to be your’s or her’s. They can wait. In the meantime, lots of hugs all around.

    • #58854
      moon423
      Participant

      We use to open the capsule and drop it into a shot of ginger ale. That way it would dissolve. What kid doesn’t like soda in the morning?

      • #59017
        Penny Williams
        Keymaster

        You have to be careful with soda and ADHD medication. Citric acid, commonly found in many sodas, can reduce the effectiveness of the medication.

        5 Rules for Using ADHD Medications Effectively

        Penny
        ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #58857
      carolynpetterson
      Participant

      Hi,

      Sorry to hear that! That’s hard. My son is on extended release pills so we cannot crush them or break them up. What we did prior to introducing the medicine was practice swallowing mini m&ms first. You could maybe try with that to get her over the aversion from the first experience. We got a pill glide tongue spray from our pharmacy. They come in cherry or grape and we referred to it as the candy spray. So do about three sprays on the tongue, hand them the pill, and it goes right down. They also make special cups that you can buy on Amazon to help them swallow pills. I had bought one but wound up giving it away to a friend when I realized how easy the pill glide spray was.

      We also went through a phase last year we were he did not want to take the pill. Since it was helping him, he felt that he was doing well and did not need it. I had to gently explain that even though he was doing well through his efforts, the pill worked with him and allowed those efforts to work. I also told him he might be able to stop taking it when he was a little older but until I heard from his teacher that he was excellent in class then he still needed it for now.

      Good luck!

    • #58870
      marissa.l.birch
      Participant

      Thank you all! We had a discussion with her and covered much of everyone’s feedback, and she is now taking her meds!!! One hurdle down, on to the next.

    • #58885
      Guest25
      Participant

      Our older son has always had issues with swallowing pills. His doctor specifically prescribed the capsules so we could open them. The doctor recommends putting the beads on a spoonful of applesauce, yogurt, etc. Our son has texture issues so that doesn’t work for us, but he has found the easiest way is to pour the opened capsule into his mouth and then he takes a big gulp of milk to swallow it all down. Our younger son takes the opened capsule beads just fine with a spoonful of applesauce.

    • #58886
      wellenhoopdee1
      Participant

      I don’t know what kind of medicine she is on but Vyvanse has a chewable that just hit the market in the spring time. That has been our saving grace since we were opening up the capsules and mixing it with a little bit of milk and then battling to drink the milk. (Had to stay away from mixing with juice due to poorer absorption into the body.)

      I’ve also heard of people putting them into Gusher fruit snacks and having the child swallow them. My son hasn’t been able to swallow M&M’s so we never tried that option. Maybe a better solution would be mixing the contents of the capsule with peanut butter and spreading over toast.

    • #58939
      TracyDP
      Participant

      Keep this updated and let us know if the meds are working. I have a 10 yr old girl with ADHD and we did NOT want her to be put on stimulants so we went to see an ADHD specialist to see what our options are. After a half hour of him interacting with her he immediately said “I would NOT put her on stimulants”. I asked why and he said this ” She has trouble sleeping, anxiety and small appetite, all of which will be made worse with stimulant medications. It’s her brain that needs to quiet down, not her body.” So he suggested we try Guanfacine {brand name Intuniv} which is a time release NON stimulant medication. He described it as a “think twice” medicine that helps the brains natural feed back loop that is missing in ADHD kids. It has been a complete game changer for us. She is able to focus for longer periods of time, her anxiety is almost completely gone and she is having much greater success in school. It’s a once a day time release pill and she has no trouble taking it with her morning fruit smoothie.

      I think a question more ADHD parents need to ask is if a stimulant is really the best option since many pediatricians automatically go to that first and don’t even tell parents there is another options, and also don’t stop to ask if it’s the child’s BODY and needs to calm down or their BRAIN. I’ve seen both types of kids working in a school and you can tell the difference.

      • #58971
        Char
        Participant

        I like your post and I’m going to look into Guanfacine {brand name Intuniv}.

    • #58970
      Char
      Participant

      I have s very stubborn teenage boy who tested as ADHD when he was 12. He thought the whole test was s scam and the pharmacutical companies were just trying to medicate kids and make $$. I knew the low dose Vyvanse would help him so I snuck it in applesauce, orange juice, cream cheese, anything he was having for breakfast. It made a big difference! I was happy, school was happy, grades,social relationships and behavior improved! He never seemed to notice it. Other parents have told me they wished they did this so their kid wouldn’t feel different. He is 14 now and has no idea he’s been on meds. We don’t give it to him on weekends because he needs sleep and food at his age.

      • #59564
        shannonglass622
        Participant

        I’m sorry but that’s kind of messed up that your son doesn’t know that you’re giving him meds when he is 14 years old, when he finds out he is definitely going to have a hard time trusting you. You should definitely tell him, what happens in 4 year when he is in college and you aren’t at his dorm to slip the medication in his applesauce?

      • #59567
        TracyDP
        Participant

        I would have to agree with this. I would have struck a deal with him, try it for a month and if it doesn’t help we will stop, or something like that. This is going to come back and bite you in the butt when he finds out, but have a hunch you knew that when you decided to take this course. But, you did what you felt you needed to do and I know of some kids that honestly, sneaking it in would be better than letting them struggle without if it was the only choice. I would start thinking about how to tell him before he finds out another way and you have to back-pedal and try to save face.

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