Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Overmedicated

I often hear people say that they think that there are too many kids on medication these days; that parents are too quick to medicate or use medication as a cop-out. This may well be true for some parents, but I have to tell you that there are a lot of us that this isn't true for. We sought a diagnosis for many years, and didn't choose to medicate our son for a long time after that. We considered the options, the side-effects, the long-term studies about the effectiveness and so on.

The evidence that medication was the right choice for our son is evident in glowing teacher reports about the complete turn-around in his behavior. He still struggles with many things, but it's much better than it used to be. If that's not enough evidence, let me tell you why almost no parent would put their child on an ADHD medication unless they really felt they had to: it's a giant pain in the neck.

ADHD medications are stimulants, and as such, are controlled substances. This means that they cannot have refills, cannot be called in or digitally sent in, and cannot be filled early.

Every 30 days I call the doctor, wade through their menus and then leave a detailed message with a receptionist asking for the doctor to write a new prescription. I ask them to call me when it's ready; in the two years my son has taken medication, they have called me exactly twice. So I usually wait a few days, then call to be sure it's ready. (The one time I showed up without calling first, it wasn't ready. I was given an attitude and asked if anyone had called me to tell me it was ready. I said no, and informed Little Miss Attitude that no one EVER called me to tell me when it was ready.) When I get to the office I tell them I'm there to pick up a prescription, they ask for the name. I tell them, and then tell them it's in 'the back', because there are two locations that they keep the envelopes, and E's is always in the second one that they check.
I always check it before I leave the office, but thankfully it's never been wrong. I then do the usual trip to the pharmacy. If I am too early, they will not fill it. And by 'early' I mean more than a day before he runs out. For example, I tried to fill it today but they can't let me have it until Thursday, which is the day he takes the last pill from the previous prescription.

If I were planning a vacation, I would need to make sure the dates were not around the time of month when E's medication runs out. Because by law the prescription cannot be filled early, I would not be able to get it ahead of time before we left. So yes, I have to plan any trips around my son's medication.

Some might think that it's not a big deal since I only have to do this once a month. But it's funny how quickly it always sneaks up on you and 30 days isn't that long.

This all sounds fun, doesn't it? I'm not saying that over-medication doesn't happen. I'm just asking to be given the benefit of the doubt, and for people to consider that it's not as simple as they think.

3 comments:

Jeff and Meg said...

That's a lot of hoops to jump through. What a pain!

BeLoVed AiMeE said...

amen! I'm only on month three of medication but I relate. It's a pain. But it's worth it for the help it gives Jack. Amazing progress in just a few months. While, I am glad I did the research, gave him the time and options, it's also kind of sad that all this time he could have been doing better and not struggling. I'm grateful.

BucksCountyFolkArt said...

Ugh, what a pain! And if you'd like to go away for a week or two for vacation, it can easily cut right in the middle of his med schedule. What a PITA. I feel for you.