Section E When medication is being started
When Tania started taking medication, her parents were told what to look out for, asked to record any changes in Tania and raise any side effects with the psychiatrist. The support from the psychiatrist works extremely well for them; they have direct phone contact with him if there are any issues and he visits Tania at home to review the medication, weigh her and do blood pressure checks every six months. The family are in contact with a nurse from his team and she also attempts blood pressure checks between reviews and records any concerns the family have.
Duncan was a teenager when he started taking antipsychotic medication. Over the years he put on a lot of weight, which affected what activities he could do in his adult life. He was often drowsy, had muscle twitching, trembling hands and sometimes drooled. Duncan’s mum hadn’t thought to record these side effects at first, but once she’d been concerned for some time she started a diary of all the problems. She has a long log of side effects now, which she will show to the psychiatrist and support service manager at the next medication review and ask that the antipsychotic be reduced.
When medication was mentioned by Harrison’s doctor, his parents were unsure whether it was the best thing for him. They read up on the medication suggested. The doctor explained that he would start on a very low dose and Harrison’s response would be carefully monitored. They agreed to try the medication. Harrison responded well to the medication and became more settled. He was able to be calm and sit still long enough to interact with his family more, engage at school, play games and cope with mealtimes. Morning and bedtime routines were easier. Harrison’s parents found that they were able to introduce new opportunities to his life and start to teach him new skills, such as making choices and washing his hair.