Tuesday, January 10, 2006

ADHD Drugs Not As Safe As Experts Thought

Today, nearly 4 million children take prescription drugs for ADHD, and this number seems to be climbing. Two new studies now suggest that those prescriptions aren't as safe as experts once thought.
In the first study, researchers kept track of 1,359 children on Strattera for 6-18 weeks. They reported five cases of suicidal thoughts, including one suicide attempt. This was compared with zero cases among the 851 patients who took a placebo. As a result of this study, the FDA had the manufacturer put a "black box" warning on the drug, which is the most serious alert. The experts believe that while children take this medicine, the most worriesome periods are during ther first few months of treatment and when the dosage needs to be adjusted.
In an Austrailian study, they reviewed 29 studies and found that stimulants prescribed for ADHD, such as Ritalin and Dexedrine, may stunt growth in developing kids who experience nausea as a side effect. In one study of 97 boys, they found that those who felt queasy on the medication ended up 2.6 inches shorter, on average, than those who didn't. Researchers believe one possible reason is that if appetite is suppressed, the resulting lack of proper nutrition and calories may affect growth.

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