Monday, November 12, 2007

ADHD Drugs Ineffective Over The Long Term

Apart from being ineffective over the long term, ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) drugs may also undermine your child's physical growth, a BBC television program, Panorama, has revealed. Scientists seem to be saying that claims made about ADHD drugs some years ago were overstated.

A long-term monitoring program involving 600 kids across the United States since the beginning of the 1990s was shown in the TV program - with some of its results. It is called the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD. The study concluded that over the long term, such ADHD drugs as Concerta and Ritalin have no demonstrable benefit for children - long term means after three years of taking the drug(s).

The use of ADHD drugs in much of the developed world has doubled over the last five years - many say it has become a cure-all for bad behavior.

In 1999 studies had claimed that a one-year course of ADHD medication is more effective for a child with ADHD than behavioral therapy. These studies had a strong influence on how doctors would treat their patients. According to Professor William Pelham, University of Buffalo, USA, the findings were exaggerated.

Pelham says he believes the beneficial impact of medication in the first study was exaggerated. It had been thought that kids would have better outcomes if they were medicated for longer - however, it is not the case, there were no beneficial effects at all.

ADHD medications also stunt a child's growth, he/she runs a very high risk of losing height and weight, compared to children who do not take the medication.

Pelham said "In the short run they will help the child behave better, in the long run it won't. And that information should be made very clear to parents."

According to Pelham, behavioral therapy and a simple diet of Omega-3 may help a child as a first move.

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