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Med or method to avoid panic attack for blood draw?

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Hi, I am trying to get my 11yo daughter to a lab for a blood draw for the Cunningham panel.

She had been very good at blood draws previously, but has started having panic attacks recently.  Any suggestions on prescription medicines to fend off a panic attack?  She has backed out twice, once after driving in 35 miles to the lab.  I can't physically haul her in.  I have promised her disneyworld and threatened taking her phone but she can't even stay calm thinking about it.


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This sounds horrible.  I'm sorry you are both going through this.  I can tell you what has and hasn't worked for my dd, who has suffered from very serious needle phobia, and is now recovering well.  I tried everything you are doing and none of it worked.  We ended up using multiple modalities to get her comfortable with blood draws and infusions.  Here are the things that worked for us listed in order of helpfulness:


1- Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP)

We have a wonderful therapist who has walked us through exposures.  My daughter is still doing 20 min of exposure each day (her "homework") because she is still slightly anxious around needles, but she is well on her way to being fully recovered.

I put this first on the list because we tried the following three treatments before taking her to a therapist to do ERP and the three worked a bit, but this one has done the most good, by far and away.  And has created actual healing.  If you only try one, this would be my recommendation. 


2- Xanax given 45 min before blood draw


3- lidocaine cream applied twice before blood draw - 60 min before and 30 min before


4- Buzzy the vibrating Bee (buzzyhelps.com) placed near the site during draws.   

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We went through this.  Unfortunately, we needed to have 4 people hold her down to get a blood draw for lyme, and haven't done any since.  However, I was advised to give Klonopin to help out.  I never tried it though.


What is the reason that our kids are so afraid of needles?? 

Edited by bws1565
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Thanks for the advice and kind words.  I'll ask her psychiatrist to prescribe some xanax.  I'll also look into numbing agents.  My daughter took the initiative to look them up herself, and likes one that is meant for tattooing and is about $50 for a small tube.  I'll also look into buzzy. 

Sophie (my daughter) is at least partly scared due to a nasty blood draw ordered by another PANDAS doctor.  He's mostly an allergist and ordered so many tests that it needed 11 vials.  Sophie had been nervous beforehand and taken 0.7 mg of clonidine instead of the prescribed 0.2 mg to fall asleep the night before.  This is primarily a blood pressure med.  The draw was also a fasting draw.  She passed out and we went to the ER for a while until her blood pressure got a little closer to normal.  To add insult to injury the doctor doesn't even believe in prescribing antibiotics or anything else.  He just suggested olive leaf extract.  Sigh.

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I know the issue is obviously the anxiety and getting her there. Have you used Emla patches? We sort of did our own ERP using the patches. It used to be full blown anxiety attacks and crazy vocal ticcing beforehand and we would have to hold my son down. By having a few positive experiences with the patches it's now much easier. I think last time zero pain plus a trip to the toy store afterwards did the trick because now our daughter needs to get blood work done and my son said he wished he could go so he could have a reward!  I was shocked he would actually "want" to have blood drawn. 

Maybe see if she will try the patches at home and you can test their effectiveness by poking the area. Do that as sort of an ERP exercise? You don't want to do a sneak attack but depending on how close you are to the lab and if you need an appointment, maybe during a second or third patch trial exercise you could just go straight to the lab without much time to dwell on it?

I hate the idea of giving the kid lidocaine she doesn't need but once or twice it may be less harmful in the long run than having to restrain her. 

Good luck!! 

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A home blood draw? I know that some labs now has this service for patients that can't travel or have a mental condition preventing them from traveling to the lab. We were able to do blood draws at home because my sister-in-law is a phlebotomist. If you can't find a  service in your area. you can also ask you local lab tech if they can do it for an extra fee. 

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