are beneficial, say European investigators
by Angela Hussain
benefits of ADHD drugs such as Ritalin outweigh any negative effects,
an eagerly-awaited European investigation has concluded.
European Medicines Agency (EMA) has since
2007 been investigating methylphenidate - whose brand names
are Ritalin, Concerta, Equasym, Medikinet and Rubifen.
Medicine regulators in European
member states requested the agency's mediation due to long-running
concerns over cardiovascular and cerebrovascular effects of methylphenidate
- such as heart rate and blood pressure increases and heart attack.
review was carried out by the agency’s committee for medicinal
products for human use. It was based on reported side effects and
all studies on methylphenidate since the fifties.
committee also investigated any link between methylphenidate and
psychiatric problems, reduced growth and sexual maturation.
urgent restriction to methylphenidate prescribing is not needed,
the committee concluded this month.
the committee decided
that for young people aged six or over diagnosed with ADHD the benefits
of methylphenidate outweighed risks, when used as part of a comprehensive
the full review is not available for scrutiny by third-party scientists
because of "legal" reasons, said an EMA spokeswoman.
has been passed to the European Commission which will examine the
review within the next two months.
review process only finishes when the commission decides on it,"
said the spokeswoman.
committee does recommend, however, that all ADHD patients be screened
before treatment to
detect any blood pressure or heart rate problems.
the lack of information on the long-term effects of methylphenidate,
patients on the drug for more than a year should have their treatment
interrupted at least once a year to determine if continued treatment
is necessary, concluded the EMA committee.
is diagnosed on around 3% of young people in the UK
year UK doctors were told by the National Institute for Health and
Clinical Excellence (NICE) to should stop prescribing methylphenidate
as a first-line treatment for children diagnosed with ADHD.
Instead parents of ADHD-diagnosed children should be first trained
to help manage their child’s behaviour, said NICE.
practitioners argue ADHD is not a valid medical concept, and has
no established physiological cause.
Phil Barker, honorary professor of medicine, nursing and dentistry,
University of Dundee, Scotland
February 2, 2009
This report really belongs in the Fortean Times or Pseud's Corner.
The drug 'treatment' of a fictitious disorder apparently presents
no problems. But no one can check the data for 'legal' reasons.
Well I never! What, in scientific terms. could those 'legal' reasons
upside to this lamentable story is that good parental support might
somehow 'manage' this 'disorder'. If only parents of children with
childhood cancers or diabetes or any other 'genuine illness disorder'
could be so hopeful?
No test for
Brian Daniels, spokesperson, Citizens Commission on Human Rights
UK, Church of Scientology, East Grinstead, West Sussex
February 2, 2009
The decision by the European Medicines Agency regarding ‘ADHD’
(‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’) drugs entirely
misses the point.
point missed is that there is not a test to confirm the presence
of so-called ‘ADHD.’ That doesn’t mean children
and adolescents don’t experience problems. What it does mean
is that a psychiatrist cannot produce any tangible evidence to support
his or her claim of a ‘chemical imbalance,’ or ‘neurobiological
disease,’ or ‘brain-based disease,’ or any other
esoteric term they decide to this so-called ‘disorder’.
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