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.”
To View Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2001/sep/09/health.medicalscience


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
Dizziness
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,

References:
ADDitude (ADDitude Magazine) http://www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_medications.htm#references (Help Guide), http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_medications_attention-deficit_hyperactivity_disorder_000030_8.htm (University of Maryland Medical Center), http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/cngrtest/ct051600.htm (DEA), http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/concern/meth_factsheet.html#6 (DEA), http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2001/sep/09/health.medicalscience ,
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/medicating/drugs/ (The Medicated Child PBS)

4 comments:

dark_one said...

My name is Nathan Finch and i would like to show you my personal experience with Ritalin.

I am 32 years old. Have been on Ritalin for 2 years now. This drug has saved my life. I have seen drastic differences between times in my life when I was taking it and when I was not. I failed out of one school and graduated top of my class in the next. Floated from job to job and then became very successful. I don't like the way I feel when I am taking it (I'm boring -- no personality) so, I time my doses to help me in the office or when I have to focus on mundane task's at home like paying bills, taxes etc. and then go without it when I'm recreating.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
Initially some apatite suppression, insomnia and slight gitters. This was corrected by reducing my afternoon dose.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Nathan Finch

Ritalin Side Effects

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