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Parents of ADHD Children

Thinking of trying Intuniv this summer

Just wanted to give a non stimulant a try this summer to see if the side effects aren’t as severe, anyone out there have a child on it and what do you think of a non stimulant versus a stimulant?  Thanks!


I’ll share my experience but it’s really going to depend on your individual child’s reaction - they all respond so differently. We tried the non-stimulant route first. Started with strattera over the summer he was 6 since its supposed to build up in their system over time. He was on it for 4 months and I saw no change in focus. We kept upping the dose until I started to see negative side effects but still no positive change so we switched to intunive (aka guanfacine). I hated this drug. Even he smallest dose knocked him out cold about two hous after taking it - face down, fast asleep wherever he happened to be. We stuck it out for nearly a year on varying doses/short acting/extended release but even when he stopped falling asleep it made him sluggish and grumpy. We tried combining it with a stimulant, we tried switching out the intunive for clonodine - all of it still had him acting tired, grumpy and withdrawn while doing nothing to help him focus on his school work. The only thing that has been effective in helping him focus is a stimulant and it has exacerbated some existing nervous tics but the trade off was worth it. My son’s issue is not hyperactivity, it is mental focus - he has so much going on inside his head that he can’t stop what he’s thinking about to focus on the task at hand. The stimulant allows him to do that. I have him off all non-stimulants now and he is his perky, bubbly self again. I am only giving him the stimulant during the summer on days he needs to focus on learning something like science camp, golf lessons, etc.  I know other people who said intunive was great for their child so again, every kid will react differently. Non stimulants do not have an instant effect like stimulants do - they take some time to show their effect so summer could be a good test. Probably none of this is helpful but thought I’d at least share what happened with us :o

Posted by brlk13 on Jun 19, 2014 at 5:34pm

Here’s a medication FAQ on Intuniv that can give you some more insight:

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jun 19, 2014 at 6:03pm

My son also had problems with intuniv.  It made him very sleepy and sluggish—also grumpy.  It exacerbated his mood issues. I do think it is important to remember that all children and people react differently to medications.  This is only our experience.

Posted by americangothic95 on Jun 19, 2014 at 6:27pm

Intuniv was the first drug we tried for our son, because his doctor was worried about him losing to much weight (he’s skinny to start with). He loved it right away because he could focus. Getting him used to it was a little crazy, it made him soooooooo sleepy. He’s mostly inattentive, but also a bit hyper and impulsive. When we switched doctors, the new doc didn’t like giving intuniv, I can’t remember why. Now my son takes Adderall which works well. Last summer was the first sumer we were able to go without anything, except on busy days - he was 12.

Hope that helps.

Posted by OhMySweet on Jun 19, 2014 at 7:32pm

My son is on the daytrana patch and intuniv.  Because of the side effect of becoming sleepy, his doctor recommended he take it an hour before bed. We do that and he sleeps much better than he used to.  Intuniv has helped a lot, but he still needs the stimulant. I believe it is supposed to be combined with a stimulant, but I could be wrong.  He no longer has the crash from the stimulant that he used to get.  he is much more even keeled throughout the day.

Posted by cmullen17 on Jun 19, 2014 at 7:47pm

Intuniv has been a miracle for my son. He couldn’t tolerate stimulants and the Intuniv has helped him tremendously.  He was tired the first few days, but was fine very quickly. We also give him risperdal for a mood stabilizer and this has helped too.  Good luck!

Posted by Sporty on Jun 19, 2014 at 8:15pm

Ok. I’ve tried many medications for my son. It took a year and a half to find one with the least amount of side effects. I battled with doctors but at the end of the day I’m going to try things and not get too comfortable with what a doctor’s favorite is!!!

Posted by vabronxboogie on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:50pm

I don’t like non stimulants. Because it didn’t take care of the attention aspect of it. With non stimulants I had to add something to go hand in hand for the other things that were going on. I didn’t like that. I started with guafacine. Intuniv is the longer lasting of guafacine. Intuniv helped with my 5 year old’s impulsive behavior but brought on mood swings etc. Did not help with paying attention. He was prescribed intuniv at night and methylphenidate in the morning. It didnt last long enough. I found out the intuniv was the culprit for his depression and mood swings because when i weened him off, all that disappeared and then i had to deal with the impulsive behavior that came back

Posted by vabronxboogie on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:55pm

Then I tried metdate, methylphenidate cd…ritalin etc… All those are forms of ritalin. They were ok, but didnt last as long as they claimed for my 5 year old. With intuniv, you miss a dosage and he would wake up hitting me and punching. That’s why i had to ween him off.

Posted by vabronxboogie on Jun 19, 2014 at 9:58pm

I even tried the newest medication called Quilivant XR, it’s a liquid for of methylphenidate. It had gaps in it. That had to go and didn’t last long enough. He was in school and needed it to last for his after care.

Posted by vabronxboogie on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:00pm

I left any forms of methylphenidate and and non stimulants and tried Vyvanse!!!! I no longer had to have two pills to help with different things. This one pill did it. The let down was great. He didnt even notice it was out his system. Methylphenidate the withdrawl was not so good.He’d get angry…agressive etc.

Posted by vabronxboogie on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:04pm

Doctors think they now it all, but they don’t. They try to push their favorite medication on you and feel some type of way when it just doesn’t cut it for your child.I wouldn’t try a new medication in the summer if he isn’t going to be in camp or somewhere. My son acts different around me. He’s more comfortable. The school is more structured.The school and the academy he goes to helped figure out any gaps and any times that it wore off. He’s on Vyvanse 40mg twice a day. I loved Vyvanse but had to switch because it didn’t last long enough. Went to Quivalant XR and that was a nightmare and back to methyphenidate. The doctor switched up and said she wasn’t changing him anymore, so I went to a developmental pediatrician and she did something that no other doctor would do. She asked me which medication i tried worked. I told her vyvanse but it didnt last. So she worded her perscription to 80mg a day. but i would give him one in the morning and his summer camp academy gives him the 2nd dosage. It made me cry to finally find someone who’s willing to let me experiment with medications. So far this is a good fit.

Posted by vabronxboogie on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:28pm

Vyvanse is one pill that took care of everything i wanted. I didnt want him taking 2 different types of pills

Posted by vabronxboogie on Jun 19, 2014 at 10:29pm

I don’t usually chime in on medication questions (‘cause I’m not a Dr. or pharmacist), and every child is going to respond differently to different meds, so make sure you work with your doctor to find the right medication for your son!  I just thought I’d chime in with my personal experience on Strattera—FWIW

My son is 18 now, but when he was younger, he was very under-weight, and not gaining well on stimulants.  The summer after Strattera came on the market in the US, we took him off stimulants and tried it alone (given in the evening hours because it made him too sleepy in the morning).  He did well on just the Strattera (with the easier demands of the summer), and was able to put on a bunch of weight—which was the primary goal—and slept a little better.  When he went back to school, the Strattera didn’t give him quite enough symptom control, so we added a very low dose of stimulant.  It was just enough to help him sufficiently and also made the stimulant last a good bit longer, but did not to have the appetite side effects of the higher-dose stimulant alone.  He stayed on the combination of both meds until just last summer and did very, very well.

We swapped Intuniv in for the Strattera at one point to see if there would be any benefit, but went back on the Strattera simply because I didn’t see a big difference, and it was much less expensive with our insurance. 

Your mileage may vary, of course. 

I know how hard it is to make these decisions.  Hopefully, your son’s physician can help you weigh the options.

Good luck!

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADHD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:20pm

Stimulants caused my son to have the tics, have problems sleeping and eating, so we switched him to intunive . He has been doing really well on Intunive. The only side effect he has is he gets more sleepy. After school he usually comes home and takes a nap.

Posted by mdasch on Jun 20, 2014 at 12:08am

Stimulants caused my son to have the tics, have problems sleeping and eating, so we switched him to intunive . He has been doing really well on Intunive. The only side effect he has is he gets more sleepy. After school he usually comes home and takes a nap.

Posted by mdasch on Jun 20, 2014 at 12:08am

Thank you for all your responses, it’s so hard to know what exactly to do as far as meds go.  Sounds like Intuniv causes alot of drowsiness.  vabronxboogie, we tried Vyvanse for two months and I really like the way the med treated her symptoms, but it made her to anxious and irritable and I thought her OCD behaviors were much worse on it, but for the focus and impulse part I really likes it.

Posted by klsmidwestmom on Jun 20, 2014 at 4:54pm

Talk to your Dr. klsmidwstmom about giving the dose at night.  That’s what we did with my son, so the drowsiness actually helped him sleep, but he was OK during the day.

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:32pm

My doctor never prescribed intuniv for the day time. It was at night time and worked for the mornings, but didnt for attention. Every stimulant my son has been on, causes his appetite to go. But that’s why i make sure he has a nutritious smoothie in the morning and he’ll have a tasty dinner packed with nutrition. My son had tics on any forms of methylphenidate. Vyvanse didn’t cause tics.  The stimulant leaves his body and usually adhd kids have problems sleeping. The medicine didn’t have nothing to do with his sleep pattern. Even when he’s off medication, he still has problems sleeping. So I give him melotonin sometimes. The non stimulants always worked better when given at night or he’d be sleepy during the day. I just wanted one pill to do it all and Vyvanse was it. What doctors dont do is prescribe it twice a day. I was lucky to find a doctor to do so. I didnt want one pill for this and one pill for that. I’d do it, but after a yr and a half, I figured it out myself what worked best for my son. Well actually the teachers assisted us.

Also I keep my son busy so he doesnt miss the TV. I cancelled my cable service to get out the house more. Winters, we go to the gym and he goes in the pool or goes into the kid zone, which he loves. If an adhd child isn’t really doing anything with their time then that’s when I tend to see the behaviors. I took my son out of daycare because it wasn’t stimulated enough. He’s in an academy with a lot more stimulation. My son is 5 years old.

Posted by vabronxboogie on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:44pm

there’s two forms of stimulants methylphenidate and dextro-amphetamine. I’ve seen the most side effects on methlyphenidate. Vyvanse is a dextro-amphetamine. I’ve had my share of methylphenidate long enough and I continued to try other medications.A lot of doctors have favorites and they aint really helping the situation. I’m blessed to have experimented with a a lot of medications and he’s only 5.

Posted by vabronxboogie on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:59pm

1mg Intuniv at night gives my son the ability to focus and control his impulses if he wants to.

Stimulants made him sick.  He couldn’t tolerate the Intuniv in the mornings, he was too sleepy.  But at night, it is fine.

He is six, and has mild ADHD combined type.

Good luck!

Posted by Pdxlaura on Jun 20, 2014 at 11:06pm

I’ll ask my Dr. about it and maybe give it a try, it’s worth a shot anyway.  Thanks again!

Posted by klsmidwestmom on Jun 21, 2014 at 12:09am

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