How Long B4 Trying a New Med?
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Q:  how long before trying a new medication? I am taking Depakote and Resperdal and feel numb. I have been on them 2 months now. Thank you

Hello Christie -- 
Each medication has a particular amount of time we'd usually give it before we say "that didn't work".  For example, you may have heard we try to give antidepressants 4-6 weeks.  For both Depakote and Risperidone, I'd be looking for some evidence of response much sooner.  Depakote, if loaded up to full dose quickly, usually shows results within the first week of treatment.  Risperidone is similar.  

However, this waiting presumes that there are no side effect problems.  Side effects, if they are going to diminish, usually do so within a few days, certainly a week or two.  So if you're still having side effects that would make you want to quit the medication, that's a good time to get in touch with your doc' and say "nope, I don't think this is going to work, let's look at making a change sooner than planned".  

We could wonder whether "numb" is a side effect or just what these medications do to you, personally.  Then we'd have to wonder which one is more likely to be doing that (I'd be guessing Risperidone).  That's the kind of discussion you need to have with your doctor.  (DO NOT stop the medications before you talk to her/him, even if it's just to leave a message saying that the medication effect is intolerable and that you need a call back with directions on which one to begin to taper and how to do that and when you can then get in to see him to decide what you're going to do instead). 

Dr. Phelps

Published November, 2002



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