Posts Tagged ‘Methylphenidate’

Who Needs Quality Teaching or Parenting When You Have Medications?

June 19, 2012

Wake up America!  Your preparedness to prescribe powerful stimulants to children for reasons as slight as a lack of concentration is lamentable. It is a trend that threatens to effect a whole generation. Teachers have got to take a far more passive approach on this issue. Instead of recommending that students take these drugs they should instead concentrate on their own performance. Too many teachers take the selfish choice of trying to restrain a wayward or naughty child rather than focus on their own weaknesses as a teacher. Instead of picking on a childs’ lack of focus, they should be concerned about how engaging their lessons are.

To hear the medical fraternity boast about a reduction in antibiotics subscriptions when the real issue is Ritalin and others of its kind is very disappointing:

The new report also found an uptick in the use of some drugs in children, with stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, leading the pack.

From 2002 to 2010, the use of ADHD drugs grew by 46 percent — or some 800,000 prescriptions a year. The top drug dispensed to adolescents was the stimulant methylphenidate, also known as Ritalin, with more than four million prescriptions filled in 2010.

“What the article is suggesting is that the number of children that we are treating for attention deficit disorder has gone up,” said Dr. Scott Benson, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and a spokesperson for the American Psychiatric Association.

“For the most part I think the overall increase reflects a reduction in the stigma,” he told Reuters Health. “It used to be, ‘You’re a bad parent if you can’t get your child to behave, and you’re a doubly bad parent if you put them on medicine.'”

Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician who has written extensively about ADHD, was more critical of the rise in stimulant prescriptions, noting that the U.S. is far ahead of other countries in its use of the drugs.

“You have to look at how our society handles school children’s problems. It’s clear that we rely much, much more on a pharmacological answer than other societies do,” Diller said. “The medicine is overprescribed primarily, but under-prescribed for certain inner-city groups of children.”

A report in the New York Times last Sunday said stimulant use is becoming a commonly used study drug even among high schoolers, with healthy students easily fooling their doctors into prescribing the coveted drugs.

“There is no objective test, so obtaining the medications is relatively easy,” said Diller.

Mum Gives Her Son Coffee to Treat His ADHD

September 8, 2011

Whilst I don’t for a second advocate giving coffee to a child, I applaud Christie Haskel for trying to find an alternative to the drugs doctors prescribe.  As I was watching the abc report on this mother I felt like the reporter was trying to manipulate me into thinking that this woman acted irresponsibly and recklessly by treating her child without consulting a doctor.

But I didn’t fall for the manipulation.  Good on her for resisting Ritalin.  She has every right to find an alternative to a drug many parents are weary of.  Below are some issues I had with the reporting of this story.

1.  The story quotes that “experts say there is no proof it works.”

Well actually I am of the opinion that if it works for some people, as it has worked for this mother it “can” work.  No more proof required.

2.  The piece lists the “potentially dangerous side-effects of caffeine.”

What about the potential side-effects of Ritalin?

  • Abdominal pain
  • Akathisia
  • Alopecia
  • Angina
  • Appetite loss
  • Anxiety
  • Blood pressure and pulse changes (both up and down)
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Diaphoresis (sweating)
  • Dizziness
  • Dyskinesia
  • Dysphoria or Euphoria
  • Formication
  • Headaches
  • Hypersensitivity (including skin rash, urticaria, fever, arthralgia, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme, necrotizing vasculitis, and thrombocytopenic purpura)
  • Lethargy
  • Libido increased or decreased
  • Nausea
  • Palpitations
  • Pupil dilation[45]
  • Psychosis
  • Short-term weight loss
  • Somnolence
  • Stunted growth
  • Tachycardia
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth aka cotton mouth)

3.  A Psychiatrist is presented warning parents not to become deluded into thinking coffee can cure ADHD:

Can drugs cure ADHD?

A meta analysis of the literature concluded that methylphenidate quickly and effectively reduces the signs and symptoms of ADHD in children under the age of 18 in the short term but found that this conclusion may be biased due to the high number of low quality clinical trials in the literature. There have been no placebo controlled trials investigating the long term effectiveness of methylphenidate beyond 4 weeks thus the long term effectiveness of methylphenidate has not been scientifically demonstrated. Serious concerns of publication bias regarding the use of methylphenidate for ADHD has also been noted. A diagnosis of ADHD must be confirmed and the benefits and risks and proper use of stimulants as well as alternative treatments should be discussed with the parent before stimulants are prescribed.

4.  The question is asked how does the mother know that by solving this one problem she isn’t creating several new ones:

I ask the same question about traditianal ADHD medication:

It was documented in 2000, by Zito “that at least 1.5% of children between the ages of two and four are medicated with stimulants, anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs, despite the paucity of controlled scientific trials confirming safety and long-term effects with preschool children.”

It is ludicrous to attack a mother for trying to find alternatives to a drug that comes with known side-effects, has stark similarities to cocaine and amphetamines and hasn’t convincingly proven the case against dependency or long-term side-effects.

Coffee isn’t something you’d want to be giving a child but neither is Ritalin.  I know which one I would rather give my child.

 


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