ADHD

Medication Sensitivity

I want to highly recommend to others who may consider trying medication for ADHD (or anything, really) that it’s a good idea to learn a more about medication sensitivity, or at least be aware that it exists and can be a problem.

Now, not everyone is “medication sensitive”, but a fair amount are, for various reasons. In my case, I am 5’4″ and weigh 110 lbs, so it makes sense that in many cases, a dosage that is appropriate for a 200 lb person is not going to be appropriate for me…in fact it may knock me on my ass, basically incapacitate me, or ensure that I have INSANE side effects. It blows my mind that drugs are classified in terms of “child” or “adult”. There are 12-year olds larger than me and I’m 34 (as I am eerily reminded when I see Missing Children posters and the missing kids are bigger than I am…). My liver can’t be huge. I actually can’t even drink caffeine without it seriously screwing with me in an “oh shit I think I’m gonna panic” kind of way (this has actually ended a few times with me literally on the floor incapacitated for several hours thinking i’m going to die). Isn’t that fun, an ADHDer who can’t drink caffeine? You think that’s mind blowing, pair that with the fact that stimulant meds seem to, indeed, calm me down. I don’t know what the eff is up with that…

Anyway, when I started on the Strattera, my prescriber (who I generally consider to be pretty astute, educated and thoughtful) decided that maybe putting me on 40 mg right up front would be a good idea. In earlier posts I’ve talked a little about what happened so no need to go there but wow… Anyway…my prescriber considered the lesson learned after that (after retiring my relationship with Strattera for lack of consistency) and put me on a small starting dose of Vyvanse and an utterly microscopic amount of Celexa.

The Vyvanse truly made me want to iron clothes, sort and stain-stick my laundry and dedicate my morning to mindless, calm productivity. It made it much easier for me to give and take in conversations in a relaxed but energized way, instead of anxiously pretending to be listening. YES.

Celexa, even in a teeny tiny dose, gave me some weird side effects including a very rare side effect, though all of them had far less impact on me than the Strattera side-effects did. So I am happy with having tried smaller dosages to start…I think it’s more appropriate to who I am and how my body works.

Anyway, just something to be aware of…age, gender, metabolism, size and more can have an impact on how you metabolize meds. Don’t be afraid to gather your own information, or at least ask lots and lots of questions when you visit your “support team”. It’s your body, it’s your health, it’s your life not theirs.

HOW I MAKE SURE TO COMMUNICATE WITH MY SUPPORT TEAM:

  • Ask questions!
  • If you can, do your own research, or ask a friend to help you find info about your medications.
  • If you need a helper to help you express your concerns to your medical providers, grab a trusted friend or family member to come in with you. I have had some helpers on call before, for in case I needed them to help me with that.
  • I have mentioned it before but I have a small notebook that I carry around with me everywhere. I write notes in it all the time. That way all I have to do when I go to the therapist I can flip through to find my thoughts I had over the week. Or when I go to see my prescriber I can recall my experiences with the meds (I’m usually pretty good about this but really sucked at it this last time…haha…oh well, try, try again…).
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