You need to know what the diagnosis is, and how the diagnosis was determined. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what it is the medication will potentially be treating.
Don’t feel pressured to make an urgent decision regarding the use of medications for your kids. Take your time to consider what you are being told. Ask questions- lots of them.
The potential benefits of the medication need to outweigh the potential risks of adverse effects. You must have a clear understanding of the potential adverse effects. Every medication including over the counter medications have potential adverse effects.
Some medications have the potential to worsen underlying problems. Make sure you ask if there is a potential worsening of underlying problems from the medication you are considering. For example certain ADHD medications can worsen tic disorders as well as worsen anxiety.
Don’t expect medications to fix every symptom. Have a realistic understanding of what symptoms you should expect to improve. Medications are not magic pills and will not solve all of the problems you are facing.
Tell your physician all of the medications that your child is on, including over-the-counter medications and “natural” or “herbal” medications.
The medication dosage amount is important. One of the common reasons that medications “don’t work” is that the dosage amount taken was too low. At the same time, one of the common reasons for side effects is that the starting dosage was too high. It matters what dose is started and how long you wait before increasing it. It is always prudent to start low and go slow but you do eventually need to get to a dosage amount that will potentially work.
Don’t look for a quick fix; be patient. It is important to evaluate medications over a reasonable time frame.
Closely note baseline sleep, appetite, and mood prior to initiating a medication trial.
Begin new medications only when at least one parent is available to monitor any negative effects.
Lack of effectiveness of a medication does not mean that the diagnosis is incorrect. Some medication trials fail to achieve the desired effect
Mohab Hanna, M.D. is co-founder of Full Fathom Wellness. He is Board Certified in Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry. He has been in full time clinical practice since 2002 during which he has treated thousands of patients. Dr. Hanna is the author of the book: Making the Connection: A Parent's Guide to Medication in AD/HD and Expert Review Series presents: ADHD medication rules every parent needs to know: a Special Report 2014 edition. Dr. Hanna completed his training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Hanna seeks to use an integrative approach to treatment. As a result, he seeks to help his patients pursue a healthy lifestyle that emphasizes wellness and prioritizes the right things in life. Over the last few years, he has introduced a variety of supplements to his treatment regimens with many patients to achieve optimal treatment. Dr. Hanna and his wife have three children and reside in Northern New Jersey.