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How long should my daughter be on medication?

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My 5-and 3/4 year old daughter, L... , has been put on 5 milligrams of Prozac and is doing great. I encourage all parents of SM children who have reached the end of hope, to try medication. My question is how long does the usual run of medication last? months? years? forever?

Answer

I recommend the use of medication for 9-12 months (after a child begins speaking and feeling comfortable in social situations). The younger the child, the less amount of time medication is usually needed. i.e., your child is 5 yrs old. If your child is doing BEHAVIORAL THERAPY and medication, and is making tremendous progress, I would say that 9 months is an adequate amount of time for your child to be on the medication.

I would also like to add that if you are using meds without behavioral therapy to help lower anxiety and build coping skills, it is possible that when she comes off the meds, anxiety may come back. She needs to have behavioral tactics now to allow for COPING SKILLS to conquer anxious situations as life progresses on. SMG~CAN research clearly indicates that children who have been given various forms of behavioral therapy and have used medication do much better when off meds than children who are only on meds.

Dr. Elisa Shipon-Blum

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