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Bye, Bye Abilify (August 15, 2009 - 1:30 p.m.)

I'm going to make yet another attempt to get back into this diary. I've been spending all my time over at the other one (talktogod), and not updating this one very often.

Stephanie asks me from time to time to update this one, because I write about her in it.

We spent the last few weeks weaning Steph off of Abilify. She is still taking Wellbutrin, but I have never really been comfortable with the Abilify. And in doing research on it, I found that there is no indication that it is supposed to be something that is taken "for life." Most of the sites that described the drug and its properties said that, while dosage should be continued in pediatric cases after the "acute response," it should be at the lowest possible dosage. There is no "body of evidence" to say how long this should be continued.

Stephanie has been on Abilify (in increasing dosages) for over three years, now. I don't believe that proper assessments have been done to discern if she still needed to be taking it.

We began weaning by dropping the dosage from 20 mg to 15 mg for one weak (this was prompted because we had run out of 20 mg pills and still had a months worth of 15 left). After that week, we dropped to 10 mg for two days (we still had one 20 mg pill left and cut it in half) and then 7.5 for the remainder of that week, by cutting 15 mg pills in half. Then this past week, we continued with 7.5, but every other day. She had her last Abilify pill last night.

We will see how things go next week, but she has been incredibly sweet for the past several days, and seems to actually be thinking more sharply this morning. Today, Stephanie actually planned something out for the near future, saying that she wanted to get her haircut on Sunday, August 23, so she would look cute for the first day of school.

In other news, that could be eventually related to autism, the Presidential Prayer team has this prayer request on its site this week:

Francis Collins confirmed for NIH post. The Senate has confirmed prominent geneticist Francis Collins as the new director of the National Institutes of Health. The NIH is the world’s largest biomedical organization, comprising of 27 institutes and research centers that together employs about 18,000 individuals. Its research program, which has an annual budget of $29.5 billion, is only second to the Department of Defense. “Dr. Collins is one of our generation’s great scientific leaders,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. According to the Christian Post, Collins is well known for his openness about his Christian faith. He has spoken at countless universities and churches across the nation about the compatibility between science and religion, including the consistency between the Bible’s creation story and evolution.

The National Institute of Health has a major hand in autism research. To have a geneticist as its head is, in my opinion, a good thing. I think there is no dispute that autism, while possibly triggered by environmental events, such as vaccines, is caused by some kind of genetic predisposition. We had a genetic study done on Stephanie several years ago, and it found that she had several genetic mutations that affect her dopamine levels.

Since recent reports are now showing that autism has increased to 1 in 100 children (and an even higher rate in boys), it's safe to say that this is an epidemic that reaches far further than any hiney flu. (That is how "H1N1" is pronounced, right?) Something needs to be done to protect our children and get to the bottom of this autism problem. It's probably too late for Stephanie, but who knows? We refuse to give up hope.

TTFN, y'all!

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