Intuniv - Irritability/depression

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End of her rope Says:

My 11 yr old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD 5 yrs ago. We have still not found the right combination of medicines for her. Impulsive behavior became a major issue for us. Our ped neurologist suggested intuniv. Since she was also battling anxiety, she started zoloft and intunive while stopping stimulants completely. After a few months, we saw behavioral changes and opted to stop the zoloft. The intuniv alone was not enough to control the inattentiveness, so she is now on a stimulant along with the intuniv. Now we are struggling in a major way with her being disrespectful to us, screaming at us and her sisters, and just being plain out rude ugly to everyone. She thinks everyone is against her. When we speak to her in a authoritative tone, she thinks we are screaming at her. She thinks her teachers do not like her....etc, etc, etc. Just tonight, I started wondering if the Intuniv could be causing this type of side effect. I read the side effects online and it does say that it can cause irritability....but it is doing such a great job of controlling the hyperactivity and impulsivity in a way that the stimulant does not (since the stimulant has the crash and burn effect after a certain period of time). I am really stumped!

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amy Says:

I have been prescribed zoloft 200mg a day for a little over a year and i have tried other mediations such as prozac, lexapro, celexa..and zoloft works wonderful for me! Ive realized when I didnt have them I would start getting really irrtable, and my anger problems that i forgot i even had came back and just wanted to scream and being nasty to my friends and family..Im 26 years old im a little older so I lost them for a few days and all those feelings came back to me. my psychiatrist even said its a very clean drug and it helps a lot of people..maybe just start with the /50mgs idk, they worked for me..good luck!

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Verwon Says:

It is actually hard to say which medication may be causing the irritability, since they both can cause it. It may even be aggravated, because she is taking both of them.

Have you tried anything else, such as maybe a low dose Benzodiazepine, such as Alprazolam? It is available on tablets as low as 0.25mgs, which are scored, so they can be easily split into an even lower dosage. It is often used to treat anxiety and nervousness, so it may help.


Has her doctor suggested anything else?

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mom Says:

I also have a daughter, age 12 with ADHD. She has been on Intunive for about 5 months now. It really seems to help with the impulsive behaviors, but in the past two months we have observed a noticable increase in disrespectful behavior. She is very rude to the family members and also has stated that people don't like her. We are considering doing a trial w/o the med to see if the irritablility changes.

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michele Says:

My 13 year old daughter was on Intuniv for 2 1/2 weeks. She also became very disrespectul and hostile. She also claimed that she didn't have any friends and wanted to be home schooled. We have taken her off of the medicine and hope to see a change in her behavior soon.. She is not on any other medicine.

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CK Says:

We had our daughter on Concerta and took her off of it after 6mos. because she slowly started having impluses that couldn't be controlled and then behavioral issues that were uncontrollable. We stopped the medication and for the next month had no problems with our daughter. But her attention in school/home became worse. We heard good things about Intuniv and started her on it. We are now having problems with the Intuniv as well. Our daughter has been on it about two months. 3 mgs. made her tired and she would come home and sleep and then, after she'd been on the medicine a month, we found out she was sleeping at school. So, the doctor decreased her to 2 mgs. then we started having behavioral problems and then after a wk went to 1 mg. Now she is "bouncing off the walls" and we still have the behavioral issues of yelling, screaming, not doing what's asked etc. She is taking celexa 30mgs too. Any ideas from anyone? We don't know what to think. Is it the medicine or could she be bipolar?

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LJ Says:

I have a 7 year old daughter (8 tomorrow actually) who was "actually" diagnosed with ADHD a year ago...she had been on Concerta for about 3 months prior through her doctor before we switched to a child psychiatrist. Since then it has been a battle (i am sure like everyone else has experienced) to find the right combo. She takes 36 mg of Concerta in the AM, 5 mg of Ritilin (for a quick boost) on school days, and 1 mg of Intuniv. She also takes 5 mg of Prozac in the afternoon.

A week ago (due to increasing 'focusing' and 'verbal aggression') her psychiatrist increased the Intuniv (we have been on the 1 mg for about 2 months) to 2 mg, and it just seemed to drag her so down and she was completely sad, drained, lost her zest...and when prompted she just replied 'i'm just not happy mom, i don't know why'.

Last night we went back to her doctor for a follow up, and she had us decrease back to the 1 mg tab. All day it has been a battle, arguing with everything, not focusing,'s all back!!

I don't know what to do, I didn't realize there was such a difference!! I have been looking around, and wondered if

(a) anyone has split the tabs (my doc said she wasn't sure if it was a good idea since it was extended release)


(b) if splitting it up into 1 mg in the am and 1 mg in the pm would make any difference??

Any help or insight would be great, because the Intuniv has been helping a great deal so far...

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indesign18 Says:

have you considered CAPD for your daughter. The Book "when the brain cant hear" describes your daughter to the T. especially the nability to understand tone and context. Just something to think about and might explain why the adhd med may not address her behavior!

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Teta Says:

Wow. If I was 7 years old and took 4 meds, I wouldn't be happy either. Poor princess. Her body's chemistry is on a roller coaster ride. Have you taken a period where her body was able to clear itself of all the meds lingering before trying something new? In many cases, if they child is NOT really ADHD, the stimulants will only make them agressive. Non stimulants make better sense for ADD or impulsivity. ie; Intuniv, Straterra. Some children may need more than the impulsiveness to be controlled. Makes sense to try 1 med at a time till you see which has what effect

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WantToHelp Says:

Did any of the previous posters take their children off of Intuniv and see the irritability and depression lessen???
I have an 8y.o. daughter on Intuniv 2mg for the last 3 mos. for ADHD. Worked for the first month and then the effect has slowly lessened to the point that we are worse off than before. Dr. Calls the drug a good "safety net" and think she needs a stimulant too. However, the last couple weeks have been awful for my daughter: crying up to 10 times a day, not wanting to go to school, lashing out if I say "no" to the simplest request, screaming at and being rude to family members, etc. When I calm her down she apologizes for her behavior and feels remorse. Could this be the Intuniv??

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Arlene Estes Says:

I am going through the same exact thing. my son was off Intuiv for awhile and it did stop but I did not think Intuiv was the cause because it is nonstimulant but now I do. I plan on making an appointment and do not think I will cont5inue the meds. Luckily, my son is not hyper but can not concentrate and has went from honor roll all through elementary to failing 6th. When he started saying things like I wish I was dead, I don't know what is wrong with me, I am crazy, I don't deserve anything, Everybody hates me, I need to be in an institution_WOW!! This is coming from a kid that has always been extrememly good, very kind hearted, and never miserable. I thought it was his age, starting Middle School, preteen but this is way too much of an instant change. I believe100% the Intuiv has very neg. side effects to kids emotional balance. I am done with it!!!

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VermontMomNeedsHelp Says:

I just came across this forum while trying to do some research on intunev my son started it about a month or so ago - he has severe ADHD diagnosed and rediagnosed by 2 separate child mental health offices (the school and associated people were convinced he had autism). So my son can be very hyper, cannot transition, severe OCD, gets stuck on something and cannot break from it, very impulsive, and he's in what we call Alex Land - he always seems to be in outer space as if he doesn't have a clue what's going on around him. He started on the intunev to piggy back & support the 27 mg/day of Concerta he has been taking since fall 2010. (Before that we tried several different mg doses of ritalin & aderall, ritalin made him angry, and aderall just wasn't working right for him) So instead of changing his stimulant that he has been on for so long I opted to add to it - less of a drastic change for his body.
So the first week I thought I had given my kid morphine he was so sedated. He is still more tired, gets winded when playing faster etc, but not nearly as bad - the impulsivity has gotten better.. the biggest thing that both the school and family have noticed is he's not in outer space as much. He seems to be far more aware of things - and is more interested in making friends and sitting with the rest of his class at school (he has a special single desk next to the teacher's desk because he could not sit with other kids his "special spot" that he actually really likes), also within the first week we noticed he was more engaging in conversations and actually let other people finish talking to him and he would respond to what we were saying rather than change the subject to whatever he was thinking. These are all really positive things. He had a followup 2 days ago and we went from 1 mg to 2 mg - so certainly more tired today and yesterday clearly, but it got better after a week when we started so I am hoping it does this time too.
THE ISSUE: we noticed that Alex was seeming more down. Then he has said a couple times "I hate myself" especially when he knows he's done something wrong or he thinks he is in trouble. He said it the other day when he walked by a man and it surprised him (this man was literally the biggest I'd ever seen easily over 650 pounds and that's on the low end of reality) Alex said "whoa.. that's the biggest man I've ever seen!" in ear shot of the gentleman. I gently pulled Alex to me and whispered to not say that. When the man was gone I just said to him that we need to be careful of feelings blah blah blah, told him it was fine and that I was very glad he said big and not fat etc. I wasn't scolding because he didn't know any better - just explaining why we shouldn't say things like that. But in the middle of this conversation he said "I hate myself" and he said it in such a way that it really caught my attention - he has said it a couple times before but I am so used to him saying random things especially for attention and not knowing the meaning of them or he heard it somewhere so he was repeating it, I never thought anything of it. My mother noticed he was saying these things when getting upset too. Then yesterday at school I got a call and an email explaining that Alex has been falling apart at the end of the day but gets better before he goes to the after school program, and that when he gets frustrated he calls himself stupid or says he hates himself. When I asked him last night if he meant it, and why he felt that way he just said he doesn't know...
My mother and I were discussing that maybe because he is more aware of what's going on around him, and other people & kids, tones of voices, attitudes, kids picking on him... all these things were oblivious to him before. I know he has caused many an uproar with kids at his school - and we all know how kids can be... so is it the med making him depressed? or is it he is really seeing things now? I need help. I am a fighter for my child and have been boxing my way through and to whoever we need to get him what he needs. any other thoughts or suggestions would be great..
Alex is in the 98th percentile for ADHD - like with a growth chart, this means out of 100% of kids his age with ADHD he has it worse/ more severe symptoms than the other 97%.
I forgot to mention Alex is a freakin genious! he sees things differently - can take every garbage and make the most amazing things. He has a great vocabulary 8-9th grade level (he's in 1st), he's extremely sensitive, incredible thinker, imagination like you wouldn't believe, so sweet and loving... He is the most incredible child...
sorry this is so long, i'm a writer & a talker lol

any help at all would be greatly appreciated


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Teta Says:

to 'S'. That's a lot of meds for young 6 year old that really hasn't been identified properly. Have the doctors considered him being an Asperger's child (under the Autism Spectrum)? Your last lines stated how bright and genius like Alex is. He likely is sensitive to light, sound, large crowds and you might not be aware. These issues could be part of why he's impulsive, responding to something that's annoying him. He might even hum under his breath alot, 'cause noises in the background are frustrating him so he drowns them out by humming (even florescent lights make a noise these kids pick up) their hearing talents are incredible. We tried Intunive by itself 1mg ONLY, 2 and 3 made our grandson lethargic and non productive. As he got older, I went to the Native Remedies site and purchased the Focus drops and Bright Spark tablets. We're all in a comfortable place now. Because he really wasn't ADHD, but maybe ADD or Aspies baby, Stimulants were not the answer, it only makes someone who doesn't need it, more agressive and uncontrollable. Just saying...

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Teta Says:

to 'S'. That's a lot of meds for young 6 year old that really hasn't been identified properly. Have the doctors considered him being an Asperger's child (under the Autism Spectrum)? Your last lines stated how bright and genius like Alex is. He likely is sensitive to light, sound, large crowds and you might not be aware. These issues could be part of why he's impulsive, responding to something that's annoying him. He might even hum under his breath alot, 'cause noises in the background are frustrating him so he drowns them out by humming (even florescent lights make a noise these kids pick up) their hearing talents are incredible. We tried Intunive by itself 1mg ONLY, 2 and 3 made our grandson lethargic and non productive. As he got older, I went to the Native Remedies site and purchased the Focus drops and Bright Spark tablets. We're all in a comfortable place now. Because he really wasn't ADHD, but maybe ADD or Aspies baby, Stimulants were not the answer, it only makes someone who doesn't need it, more agressive and uncontrollable. Just saying...

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VermontMomNeedsHelp Says:

Hi Teta and thank you for response. As I mentioned my son has been through extensive psychological evaluations by 2 different child mental healt offices, because his school, and I believed he had aspergers. He does have some autistic tendencies but he is not autistic. Believe me I was certain he was.. As far as noises or humming, he doesn't hum he generally is just in his own land- but like I said since the intunev he's been much more grounded and more interested in the people and activities around him which is wonderful. He is certainly more tired but this is a new med and when we started the first dose it went away after a few days, so I am hoping the same will happen with the new 2 mg dose. I am really just concerned that there might be something in the intunev causing depression, because he was never depressed before.
As far as being on so many meds, he is on 2 and we started with very low doses of these and the ones we tried before this. He has been working with a psychologist every week since he started kindergarten and even though he is incredibly intelligent, his ADHD has caused him to be unable to focus and do what he needs to do at school and at home to learn and be at level for his grade. I have him in sylvan for reading and he gets 1 on 1 math, reading and spelling at school because he cannot function without a 1 on 1 adult keeping him on track. Without the concerta, before we started the intunev, his brain is so all over the place it's like static electricity hit by lightning. The one day my husband forgot to give it to him the school called and had him bring it in or they were going to send my son home.
I am not a fan of medications and would much rather not have my children on anything at all. But I trust the doctors and psychologists we see now who have taken over his medication prescribing because this is their specialty.
I have tried changing his diet and vitamins natural remedies and many other things.. And I am sure there are many more we will try.

Anyway, we know that he has severe ADHD and OCD diagnosed by 2 different very well known psychiatrists specializing in children with ADHD and autism. I just pray that we are on the right track with the intunev because I would hate to switch him again.

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Arlene Estes Says:

Yes I did take him off and the crazy behavior has left completely even being on the Adderrall which I originally blamed the behavior on. The adderral need to last throughout the whole day and I see no moodiness at all plus his grades have went up again. My son is not ADHD/hyper just ADD/attention and the Intuiv did nothing for his grades at all. I am a firm believer that the INtuiv is so new they really don't know and my DR agreed with that. I hope this helps

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Arlene Estes Says:

I know they say alot of Negative things about Ritlin and Adderral but I just went through this and my sister did yrs agao and all the other meds so not seem to even work and have all these side effects. The only thing I have ever seen work is the Ritlin and Adderral. The thing with them is too have it time released throughout the day and I see no side effects at all with great results. The research I have done and my DR said it is because the wearing off is what makes them moody and I find that true. I was adamant about my son being on a nonstimulant and now I regret it. He even thought there was something wrong because he was on so many different meds. He is doing great now again and has a happy attitude with life. He is still a 12yr old preteen but it is normal issues and attitude_not the disrespectful hate life cry stuff. When I found this discussion page I about died because the Intuiv doesn't even include irritibilaty or depression at all as a side effect so I thought my kid needed some serious counseling and I didn't even know why_his life is Ok. His Dad and I are both with him, good school, not alot of reasons to be so crazy and he was saying I need to go to a mental institution_WOW!! That is when I punched in Intuiv Depression and found this. I was almost relieved honestly. I took him off immediately and he has not said anything at all crazy and is the kid I always had!! With better grades on the oh so bad Adderral that I was so mad his Dad had put him on!

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Doc Kevin Says:

My son Chris who is now 6 and has been taking Intuniv 3 mg concerta 18 mg, the problem is he is diagnosed with Aspergers (high functioning autism) ADHD ( another form of autism) as well as mixed communication receptive disorder. My son suffers from very vivid nightmares, he hears voices, he is very defiant, does not want to go to sleep at night. He has some agressive tendencies with others including me and his mom. The doctors are considering taking him off of intuniv, keeping him on concerta and adding Risperdol for his aggression. It may be a good idea to get another professional to look at your child and get another opinion just a thought. Problems are rampet with these sorts of medications and some can actually cause alot of the symptoms I see listed here. I only know this because in Jacksonville I am a noted professional on the matter, not a medical doctor but a doctor non the less.

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VermontMomNeedsHelp Says:

Hi & thank you for responding, luckily we have seen a lot of improvement in my son - he is now on 2 mg intuniv and still 27 mg of concerta. He is really making leaps and bounds in school and his academics. I do not think we have perfected the meds yet, but I am hoping we are on the right track. Alex seems to have gotten past stating that he hates himself, or he has in front of me and our family. He still gets very frustrated with himself, but I think that this is more because he has been brought down out of the clouds enough to be mindful of his strengths and weaknesses. He was always in Alex-Land before, and now it's not much more than your average child. He still gets very stuck on things due to his OCD (or so we think) but this has gotten better, he is more able to come away from his obsessions with less meltdown, and to bounce back from any meltdowns much faster and most of the time without it putting the rest of the day in a funk.
We have found that he is going to bed with more difficulty, and at times even seems MORE hyper - but only sometimes.. For the first few weeks of the higher dose, he was extremely tired, even slept through a school day in the nurses office on the 4th day, and then he was getting up in the middle of the night and staying up (I generally don't sleep due to insomnia & nursing school so I study between 1030 and 8 am before class). But knock on wood he hasn't been getting up in the last 2 weeks, so hopefully that went with the daytime sleepiness. We do go back for another follow up in a week, so that's good - and the doctor and I have emailed back and forth checking in. So really it's just a waiting game, trial and hopefully no error. It does seem like during the first few weeks there may be side effects to Intuniv that subside thankfully. My instructor's son has William's Syndrome, MR, ADHD, scoliosis, and other disorders and is on 5 MG of intuniv, yes the max dose is 4 mg, but it has worked really well for him, all things considered.
My son has a huge support team between me, his mom who will fight til the death for him, my family, and teachers & para-educators at his school..
I do hope we are on the right track!
Thanks again -

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Doc Kevin Says:

I am glad to hear that. Keep me informed I look forward to hearing back from you.
Kevin Profit Phd

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Ol mom Says:

We had a similar situation with my son at 12-14. 11 is a terrible age and it is so scary for her to feel out of control. I really think a lot of these medications react/ interfere with the wild hormonal changes that the kids are going through. It took a number of trial and error combinations with my son and initially Intunive had a psychotic effect with him- very scary. Once we got a stabilizing combination for him(its going to be different for everyone) but Zoloft and seraquel er work best here. We have changed to a gluten free diet and have started to taper off everything. Under strict monitoring off course. We also found a book by Michael Bradley very helpful and reassuring" Yes, your teen is crazy! Loving your child without losing your mind" I also frequent the SDClifestyle newsletter and the GFCF diet intervention. There are a lot of studies that connect autoimmune disorders and the spectrum type behaviors your living with. I've found that its really been worth the effort to implement these dietary changes. My son is safe and productive, and for a teen moderately happy;-)

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