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Parents of ADHD Children

Abilify for 10 yr old with ADHD

Hello! Went to the med doctor yesterday. My 10 yr old son has ADHD. We use the Daytrana patch ( 40 mg) and its perfect for his hyperactivity! However, he is impulsive, gets obsessive/ fixated, and picking at skin is out of control! The doctor suggested he may be mildly Asperger’s and added Abilify. I’m freaking out because of what I’ve been reading! Has anyone used Abilify or heard of mild Asperger’s? Help! Thanks!


Abilify Caused my son to gain 25 lbs. It was awful and he has never been able to get the weight off since then. It did help some Symptoms but the wt. gain side effect was crazy . I Wish we had never used it.

Posted by Udderlycrazy on Feb 18, 2014 at 7:51pm

Something that is vitally important to take into consideration is the dose of Abilify given, particularly in terms of any of the risks/dangers associated with taking it (such as weight gain & metabolic profile changes—hyperlipidemia, diabetes, etc).  What dose has been recommended?

Posted by BC on Feb 18, 2014 at 8:01pm

1 mg a day for two weeks then 2 mg once a day. The Daytrana stops him from eating so I hope it will even out.

Posted by Tre on Feb 18, 2014 at 10:18pm

2mg is a very low dose, so theoretically that makes the risks associated with taking it less.  Whether weight gain (in terms of how much gained & how fast) is dose-related, I’m not sure about that. 

Just keep in mind that you need to keep an eye on things and if anything starts to become problematic, to speak up about it.  If the plan is to stay on the Abilify long term make sure that they are getting a baseline measurement of the metabolic profile (blood sugar, lipids, etc), weight & height…and will continue to monitor those levels periodically.

Posted by BC on Feb 18, 2014 at 11:25pm

Abilify is contraindicated for people under 25. It may cause mania to people under that age. My son takes Daytrona, but just 20 mg, which can sometimes make him a little spacey and appear “mildly autistic.” As soon as I take him off the meds, he goes back to normal. Maybe 40 mgs is too high. I actually cut my son’s patch in half just to see if he would be less spacey.

Besides Daytrona, my son also takes Intuniv. It has a calming effect and helps with many of the social aspects of ADHD.

Intuniv is an ADHD med. Its a nonstimulant. I would definitely try it before I put my son on Abilify. I don’t know who recommended that to you, but I don’t think its a good idea.

Hope this is helpful to you.
Susan in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on Feb 19, 2014 at 7:18am


Abilify is not “contraindicated” in people less than 25 yrs of age. 

Among other things, Abilify is used to treat:
“irritability and symptoms of aggression, mood swings, temper tantrums, and self-injury related to autistic disorder in children who are at least 6 years old”(—I used that quotation only because it listed out some of the specific behaviors related to autism that it is used for in kids.  It is also used to treat those same things in ADHD/ODD.

Having said that, these are what are known as “off-label” uses, meaning no specific double-blind studies have been done which proves they are more effective than placebo for treating them (basically what needs to be done in order to list a drug as being “indicated for” a certain condition in the pharmaceutical/medical literature).

In addition to these being “off-label” uses (something that is done all the time, btw) Abilify has never been specifically tested in children (<18 to) RE: safety & efficacy for those conditions which ARE listed under “Indications.”

Hope that makes sense.

Posted by BC on Feb 19, 2014 at 8:03am

My son has mild Aspergers.  It took us until he was 11 to have that diagnosis, so he was under the radar for a long time.  As for Abilify, I will tell you that I took the 2 mg myself and it made me very nervous and anxious.  I am just one person and everyone reacts differently to medication.  If you are worried about this medication, then get a second opinion.  My son is on Lexapro and that has helped a lot—but again, everyone is different.  You should definitely talk to your doctor—and if he or she is not a psychiatrist, I would suggest making an appointment with a child psychiatrist.  I think they are the best at understanding these medications.

Posted by americangothic95 on Feb 19, 2014 at 8:41pm

If it is possible, could you take your son to a child psychiatrist?  My 8 year old went through a string of tests at his school last year, with the school psychiatrist.  The results showed indications for autism and aspergers.  I was very upset until they explained to me that many of the characteristics of adhd are similar to those of aspergers and autism.  He does not have either aspergers or autism.

He has gone through periods of picking fingers and lately cracking his knuckles.  It is not something that has required any additional medications.  Like SueH my son is on the Daytrana patch, 20 mg, and 1 mg of Intuniv at night.  Thankfully, we are having great results on those two medications.  It did, however, take a child psychiatrist to come up with these meds and the proper doses.

Good luck!

Posted by cmullen17 on Feb 20, 2014 at 1:55am

You are right. I confuse Abilify with another drug. So maybe what I am about to say won’t be accepted. However, Abilify hasn’t been tested on kids. It is a very powerful atypical antipsychotic. That means that it acts on dopamine as well other possibly unknown mechanisms.

You say, “Its being used off-label, because a double blind study hasn’t been performed yet.” I don’t want to sound dramatic, but that sounds like defacto testing to me, without any of the protections associated with an approved FDA study. So, if something goes wrong, too bad. All I am saying is that I have one child and unless I am extremely desperate, I’m not willing to take that risk.

I can see where taking such a risk might be a valid course of action such as in the case that not other medications are available. However, there are two that might be helpful, two medications, which have been approved for use in children. One is Intuniv. The other, Risperidone, is another atypical antipsychotic, but it’s been use on kids for years. Both of these drugs carry risks, though we know what they are. Wouldn’t it be prudent to try what we know before taking with something unknown?

Here is one more thing to consider. I have a son and a husband who take psychotropic medication. So, I have spent more time than I would like to admit in the offices of psychiatrists. More than once in my husband’s case, these docs want my husband to try some new off-label treatment. The problem is that sometimes the treatment works and sometimes it really doesn’t. When it really doesn’t, the consequences may be quite devastating.

You can give your son Abilfy if you like. All I am saying is that I am not a big fan of off-label treatment especially when there’s other approved treatments available.

I hope this is helpful to you.
Susan in PC, Ohio

Posted by SueH on Feb 20, 2014 at 6:33pm

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