Lab Work Before Starting Meds?
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Q:  Lab Work Before Starting Meds?


MY SON WAS DIAGNOSED WITH BIPOLAR DIORDER. HE IS SEVEN YEARS OLD AND I THINK HE DOES HAVE SYMPTOMS OF IT, MAYBE NOT AS SEVERE AS WHAT I HAVE BEEN READING ABOUT. BUT MY QUESTION IS, SHOULD HE HAVE HAD LAB WORK DONE BEFORE STARTING MEDICATIONS? WE WERE IN THE FIRST APPOINTMENT FOR ABOUT ONE HOUR AND RECEIVED THIS DIAGNOSIS. SHOULD THERE BEEN MORE RESEARCH DONE ON HIM BEFORE BEING TREATED FOR THIS?

THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.



Dear Marie -- 
It is not unreasonable to arrive at this diagnosis in a first visit.  There are some medications that can be started without prior labs.  There's always a "trade-off" for decisions like this: wait longer, maybe be surer, but leave him with untreated symptoms in the meantime; or, treat now without labs, versus delay for labs plus put him through the needle-stick thing.  Judgment calls.  Tell the doc' about your concerns and see how she/he handles it.  Floating your concerns but noting that you don't necessarily expect things to be done differently because of those concerns is a good idea: you make your feelings known but you're acknowledging that the doc' may be making the best judgment.  It's a tricky thing on both sides -- parents, and doctors. 

Dr.Phelps  


Published October, 2001

 

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