Sharyl Attkisson Explores Off Label Use of Risperdal in Children

When Nicholas was almost 2 1/2 years old, we took him to a local Neurologist who was apparently “the dr to see” in a big hospital in NJ. You know, the kind of doctor who is on Autism Boards and “really knows his stuff” You know, the one with the waiting list which is months long because everyone just has to get their kid in to see him. Before our appointment, I already knew Nicholas had autism. I was already beginning to put the biomed pieces together in my head. We had already seen a HUGE difference in Nicholas from just the addition of the Omega Fish Oil and Vitamin E. So, imagine a naive version of me (oh yeah, I was naive back then) sitting there asking this doctor why fish oils are making my child talk and babble when without it he was almost completely silent after him telling me that ABA was our only hope if we did not want to institutionalize our son and try again. So, imagine my shock when this doctor practically yelled at me about giving my child omega fish oil and then telling me that he was not giving me an Rx for ABA until I brought my son back to see him after he was medicated with risperdal. (the school requested a report or Rx for ABA so they could get Nicholas services – that was the primary reason for the appointment)

Hearing a neurologist confirm your thoughts that your child was in fact autistic was enough for one afternoon. Having such an individual tell you to put your child in an institution and try again was one of the most cruel things anyone has ever said to me in my life. Having him answer my curious question on fish oil in the manner in which he did was unprofessional and telling all at the same time. But, in the moment, I didn’t know that his response to the fish oil was telling at all. What I heard was autism and institution and risperdal. I collapsed in the parking lot shortly thereafter from a panic attack.

I went home and started looking up Risperdal. In less than five minutes, I read that this was medication for schizophrenic adults and that it was recently approved for children five years and above. In less than five minutes, I knew there was no way I was putting my son on a drug like this – my son’s behavior did not warrant it – and thinking back to the appointment I then realized that this doctor did nothing but provoke my son from the second we walked into his office – and at times, my son acted better than I thought he would there. (I truly understand some children need this medication and do not judge any parents for choosing this route for their child if they have tried everything in their power first.)

My son, as I said, was 2 1/2 years old. When I made the appointment, they told me that they had plenty of toys there so I would not need to bring any. We get there and are in the waiting room…. no toys. We are brought into the doctors office… again, no toys. My son was just starting to play with his toy phone at home and he saw a phone on the doctors desk and wanted to play with it. This doctor proceeded to taunt my child with his phone and then deny him access to play with it. And then he tells me my son is agitated and needs medication. This doctor did not choose to see my son pick up the receiver putting it to his ear and babbling like he was having a conversation. I have to wonder how different a neurotypical child would have acted in that situation.

My son was hyper as if he was driven by a motor that never shut off. “He needs medication!” exclaims the doctor, “He will not learn without it!” In my many beginning hours of research into my son’s issues, I found a list of things to try to calm him down a bit and I started trying them. Epsom Salt baths – check. Evening Primrose Oil – check. Gaba – check. L-theanine – check. I added epsom salt baths – and wow — the difference was amazing. Then I added Evening Primrose Oil – I saw less hyper. I added gaba, but knowing that would take a month or so to kick in, I also added L-Theanine – and that worked very well. Less hyper, less anxiety – and suddenly I was angry. Angry that they would rather my son be medicated — with a drug that wasn’t even approved for a 2 year old. Angry that this doctor couldn’t say – hey, magnesium is calming – why don’t you try some of that either orally or epsom salt baths and see if that works to calm him down some?? Unfortunately, we all know the answer to that question by now.

I felt like this doctor was on a misson:
1. Diagnose
2. Break down parents into believing there is nothing that can be done to help their child
3. Medicate

I still have that Rx for risperdal. I keep it as a reminder of what I’m working towards – a child who does not need to depend on anything in life — including Rx drugs like this. I’m so glad Sharyl Attkisson wrote about this. So very glad. Thank you, Sharyl. You are one of my heroes. Thank you for having the backbone to stand up for the truth!

Sharyl Attkisson Explores Off Label Use of Risperdal in Children
By Kim Stagliano

Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News delves into the off-label use of Risperdal for children and it’s serious side effects, including breast growth on males.

Click to read the whole story at Age of Autism.

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