Thursday, January 19, 2012

Medication Update: “Weighing” the Good Versus Bad

My son has been on Risperidone for a couple months, with the dosage bumped up for the past month or so.

During that time, we saw his aggression decrease. His spirits soared. He was sleeping better.

By all these measures, the medication has been effective.

This week, we made the decision to stop it.

The potential side effect of Risperidone is an increase in appetite and excessive weight gain. We noticed an increased appetite with Kai almost immediately after we started. And lately, we clearly saw that his belly was getting quite large.

When we put him on my wife’s scale that measures body fat content, it confirmed our suspicions. Our son was obese.

We have tried to increase Kai’s exercise – it is our New Year resolution after all. But on some days, with all of Kai’s after-school therapy and other activities, we are pressed for time just to get his homework done before he has dinner, bath, plays piano and goes to bed.

We already had him on a healthy diet, but have become even more rigorous in monitoring it.

And I suppose we could try to give him less to eat, but that is very difficult when he is almost constantly whining that he is hungry and can’t wait until the next meal.

And so, we decided that a drug that had this effect was not healthy for him.

It was a tough decision to put him on the medication, and it was a tough call to stop it when it had many benefits.

To replace Risperidone, the doctor recommended a similar drug, Seroquel. The risk of weight gain is also present with this new drug, so we will carefully monitor its effects.

This morning, Kai did not eat much of his breakfast. So it looks like his appetite has decreased already.

But he also got angry and aggressive with me. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Perhaps it will take a few days for the new drug to take effect.

We shall see.


  1. Wow...tough call. I hope everything works out.

    1. Yes, tough decision, though not necessarily irreversible. If we find that the Risperidone was the best option, we may try it again and deal with the weight issue. Hopefully this new drug will have the same benefits without the side effects.


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