Friday, July 10, 2009

ADHD Drugs Linked to Sudden Death in Kids

MONDAY, June 15,2009 (HealthDay News) -- Stimulant medications commonly prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are associated with an increased risk of sudden death, but those deaths are still rare, new research finds.
Children and teens taking ADHD stimulant medications were seven times more likely to die suddenly than their peers, the study found.

"What we found -- to our surprise -- is that even if you take out confounding factors, the association between stimulant use and sudden death was still significant," said study author Madelyn Gould, a professor of clinical epidemiology in psychiatry at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City........Results of the study were published in the June 15 online edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

With 2.5 million kids in the U.S. on stimulant medications like Ritalin and Adderall, it's big news when research shows that the incidence of sudden death is 7.4 times higher among this group (aged 7-19). Other possible factors as causes of deaths were ruled out.

The hyperactive children killed by these drugs represent just the tip of the iceberg. You can be sure that many more children are being harmed to different degrees and in varying ways without family or physician awareness. The tragedy is compounded by the fact that the harm could often be avoided if the youngsters were properly examined and treated for nutritional deficiencies as well as allergic and toxic exposures.
Dr. Benedetto Vitiello, chief of child and adolescent treatment intervention at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health said "It rings a bell for everyone to be more attentive and less cavalier about the use of these drugs."


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ADHD Drugs: Hallucinations Not Uncommon

FDA Examines Incidence of Psychotic Symptoms in Children Taking ADHD Medications
Jan. 26, 2009 -- Treatment-related hallucinations and other psychotic symptoms in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be more common than previously thought, FDA officials report in the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Study Raises Questions About Diagnosis & ADHD Treatment

A new UCLA study shows that only about half of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, exhibit the cognitive defects commonly associated with the condition.The study also found that in populations where medication is rarely prescribed to treat ADHD, the prevalence and symptoms of the disorder are roughly equivalent to populations in which medication is widely used.The results of the first large, longitudinal study of adolescents and ADHD, conducted among the population of northern Finland, appeared in several papers in a special section of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published in December and are currently online. To view full article:


The ADHD drug Strattera CAUSES psychosis, hallucinations, mania and agitation - 12/01/2008-The manufacturer, Eli Lilly, has now changed the label for Strattera in Europe to include warnings that Strattera CAUSES “hallucinations, delusional thinking, mania or agitation in children and adolescents without a prior history of psychotic illness or mania … at usual doses”। Stockholm, Sweden 12/01/2008 09:38 PM GMT (TransWorldNews) - To View Full Article:

Strattera Safety Questioned

STRATTERA-Children's suicide attempts raise concerns about ADHD medication - July 3, 2008-New questions are being raised about the safety of a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder amid reports that more than 40 Canadian children have attempted suicide after taking it। To View Full Article:

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ritalin Cocaine for Kids? Risks & Benefits

Ritalin (Methylphenidate) – Overview

According to the Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section, 1995

Ritalin is a schedule II drug classified in the same category as cocaine, heroin, opium and morphine.

Ritalin & cocaine are used interchangeably in scientific studies. The DEA has reported this and has also stated that it produces cocaine-like effects.

According to DEA Congressional testimony: “neither animals nor humans can tell the difference between cocaine, amphetamines or methylphenidate (Ritalin), when they are administered the same way in comparable doses. In short they produce effects that are nearly identical.”

In addition to Ritalin, other amphetamine or “speed” type drugs include Adderall, Dexedrine & Cylert.

“The data show that methylphenidate has a high abuse potential. It is associated with diversion and trafficking and is abused for its psychic effects. The extent of these activities is similar to other pharmaceutical Schedule II substances.”

“What are some consequences of methamphetamine and amphetamine use?

Effects of usage include addiction, psychotic behavior, and brain damage .6
• Withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, fatigue, paranoia, aggression, and intense cravings. 7
• Chronic use can cause violent behavior, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions, and paranoia. 8
• Damage to the brain cause by meth usage is similar to Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and epilepsy.9 “

Ritalin is More Potent Than Cocaine

- Ritalin has a more potent effect on the brain than cocaine.
- Using brain imaging, scientists have found that: in pill form, Ritalin, occupies more of the neural transporters responsible for the 'high' experienced by addicts than smoked or injected cocaine.
- Ritalin has the same pharmacological profile as cocaine
- Even in pill form Ritalin had a greater potency in the brain than cocaine.
- The notion that Ritalin is a weak stimulant is completely incorrect,' said Volkow. A normal dose administered to children blocked 70 per cent of the dopamine transporters. 'The data clearly show the notion that Ritalin is a weak stimulant is completely incorrect,' said Volkow. Cocaine is known to block around 50 per cent of these transporters, leaving a surfeit of dopamine in the system, which is responsible for the hit addicts crave. But now it is known that Ritalin blocks 20 percent more of these auto-receptors.
“'I've been almost obsessed about trying to understand [Ritalin] with imaging,' said Volkow. 'As a psychiatrist I sometimes feel embarrassed [about the lack of knowledge] because this is by far the drug we prescribe most frequently to children.”
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Long-term effects of Ritalin Have Not Been Studied

The conventional view is that 40+ years of Ritalin use suggests that it is pretty safe stuff. However, 40 years later Ritalin and other stimulants have not been studied for their long-term safety and effectiveness.
According to the Canadian Medical Association the average drug trial for Ritalin is just 3.3 weeks. In contrast, children diagnosed with ADD/ADHD may be taking the medication for years, even decades. Yet the impact of such long term use is not known, which begs the question, why haven’t any long term studies been conducted given Ritalin has been around for over 40 years. For young children, whose brains are still developing, long-term use may lead to permanent neurological changes, stunt kids’ growth and increase the risk of addiction & drug abuse.

Benefits of Ritalin Treatment
Claims that Ritalin appears to help with concentration
Studies indicate improvement is in classroom manageability rather than academic performance. No Scientific evidence that Ritalin is effective (Children’s hospital of Eastern Ontario & Univ. Ottawa meta-analysis Study, 62 studies). A meta-analysis of 62 studies of Ritalin treatment involved close to 3,000 participants for Attention Deficit Disorder. A team of Canadian researchers said it found very little scientific evidence that the drug lives up to its reputation and discovered that studies have played down the negative side-effects and role of placebos. The meta-analysis study included studies conducted over an 18 year span.

Ritalin: Six Common Side Effects

Loss of appetite, weight loss
Growth problems
Trouble falling asleep
Irritability, sadness, moodiness, or agitation 1-2 hours after administering the medication.
Sadness, irritability, or worsening of ADHD symptoms as the drug wears off.

Other Ritalin Side-Effects
Heart beat irregularities, rapid heart beat,
Increased blood pressure
Hallucinations, anxiety, irritability
Restlessness ,agitation Suicidal feelings, personality changes
Nausea/dizziness & muscle cramping
Lack of spontaneity Nervousness , Headaches ,
Upset stomach, Depression, Tics,

ADDitude (ADDitude Magazine) (Help Guide), (University of Maryland Medical Center), (DEA), (DEA), , (The Medicated Child PBS)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Health Canada Advisories & Warnings on ADHD Drugs: Sept. 21/06

ADHD Drugs & "Uncommon Psychiatric Adverse Events"
OTTAWA - "Health Canada is informing Canadians that the prescribing and patient information for all drugs used for the management of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is being revised to provide information about the potential for psychiatric adverse events, including rare reports of agitation and hallucinations in children..."