One of the things that Nathan suffers from (besides me, ahaaaa! Oh...I slay me) is seasonal eczema. His skin gets very dry and scaly. Now, common wisdom would have me put on some sort of skin cream to keep his skin moisturized. But....Nathan hates any type of anything on his skin. Bath time, sun screen, moisturizer, lip balm...sets his sensory issues to Light Speed.
At this time of year, Nathan's pediatrician recommends putting him on Atarax , which is similar to Benedryl. I checked with his doctor to see if there would be any interactions with his current medications and what kind of side effects would I see. He said we may seem him become more drowsy, but he may also become more hyper. Nathan has been on it before, so I was pretty confident what to expect. It would to be a 1-2 punch. Nate would have the hydrocortisone cream and the Atarax.
I didn't see the hyper, but his step mother did. Her name is Emily (aka My Emily as Nathan calls her) and she emailed me and told me that Nathan was more hyper and active than usual when he was with her and his Dad. I chalked it up to him being off his regular schedule, as this was during Thanksgiving break. But then, I thought back to his behaviors here at home. He was having headaches, which he normally does not get. He was very grouchy in the morning. He was super sensitive to requests, even small ones like, "Would you please shut the door?", which was met with the dulcet tones of him screeching like a howler monkey.
I know it seems elementary, but I didn't see the pattern until I got the whole story from Emily. It probably would have taken me a bit longer to notice the change on my own. Thankfully, I have a great relationship with her and that helps make co-parenting a little bit easier. I decided that the Hydroxyzine was doing more harm than good and I haven't given him any since. He has regulated his mood and behaviors and though he is itching a tiny bit more than he was before he was on it, we are counter acting that with moisturizing products that don't drive his skin sensory issues through the roof.
So, drugs on the whole if they are beneficial and do more good than harm are great. Drugs that have more harmful effects that counteract what they are supposed to help are not so good. We have been lucky that the current meds are working and we have few side effects. This new one has not been so kind to Nathan. They are supposed to help, not make him feel like his brain will explode or have him cycle longer in hyperactivity. I think that the folks over at Thinking Person's Guide to Autism have a daily checklist to monitor behaviors and see patterns which may not jibe with what your child normally does. I am going to be more diligent in that. I want Nate to thrive in his skin, not tear it off with his teeth.