|Betreff: Use of hyperactivity drugs soars|
|Von: Dorothee Krien
|Datum: Sun, 11 Mar 2007 22:06:50 +0000|
Ritalin is a mild stimulant used to treat ADHD
Between 1993 and 2003, prescriptions of ADHD medications, such as Ritalin, almost tripled.
Global spending on ADHD drugs increased nine-fold, with 83% occurring in the US, a study in Health Affairs reported.
But experts said although use of ADHD medications had increased as awareness of the disorder improved, they may still be under-used in the UK.
Use of psycho-stimulant drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in 5-19 year olds was examined in countries across the world.
Between 1993 and 2003 use of ADHD medications increased by 274%.
The US, Canada and Australia all had higher than expected use of the drugs.
Country-by-country analysis showed increases in other countries including France, Sweden, Korea and Japan.
In the UK, use of the drugs grew by 12.3% between 1999 and 2003 and expenditure grew by 30.8%.
Countries with traditionally low and moderate consumption of the drugs were showing moderate upswings, the researchers said.
Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
In 2000, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommended treatment for the most severely affected children.
They estimated there are around 400,000 under 16-year olds with ADHD in England and Wales.
Monthly prescriptions for Ritalin, the standard treatment, increased from 4000 in 1994 to 359,000 in 2004.
Study leader, Professor Richard Scheffler, University of California, Berkeley, said: "ADHD could become the leading childhood disorder treated with medications across the globe.
He added that that one in 25 children and adolescents in the US is taking drugs for ADHD but the findings challenge the assumption that the disorder is a US phenomenon.
But Andrea Bilbow, chief executive of ADHD charity, ADDISS, said: "I think the rest of the world is a long way off catching up with the US.
"In the UK we are still under-diagnosing and under-prescribing."
She added that at the beginning of the study period in 1993 there was little knowledge of ADHD.
"The minute you raise awareness you're going to see an increase in diagnosis and treatment."
Dr Greg Richardson, consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry in York said there was a wide spectrum of differences in ADHD.
"If you're a bit inattentive and impulsive but can hold down a job you probably won't get a diagnosis.
"It's about where on that spectrum you can justify medication.
He added that in the UK neurodevelopmental differences were more likely to be seen as part of a spectrum of normal human behaviour than in the US."You need to find a balance with does the medication make the child's life easier or are you prescribing it to make life easier for the adults around them."
| Last Updated: Thursday, 29
September 2005, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Suicide warning over ADHD drug
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is warning doctors to be on the look out for warning signs.
It received 11 reports of suicidal thoughts or behaviour among an estimated 15,000 users of Strattera in the UK last year - mainly children.
Experts told parents not to be alarmed, saying the drug benefited many.
For the majority of children on Strattera (atomoxetine), the drug's benefits outweigh any risk and they should continue on the treatment, they said.
Doctors and patients, together with parents and guardians, are being advised of this risk and should be made aware of any possible signs and symptoms as a precautionary measure.
Updated warnings will be put on the drug's patient information leaflet.
The news follows recent reports of concerns about potential suicidal side effects of commonly used antidepressants among children and teenagers.
Dr June Raine of the MHRA said: "We are advising healthcare professionals that patients should be carefully monitored for signs of depression, suicidal thoughts or suicidal behaviour and referred for alternative treatment if necessary.
"Children who are doing well on this medication should continue their treatment.
"Those who experience any unusual symptoms, or are concerned, should speak to their doctor to discuss the best course of action."
The drug is one of many used to help control the symptoms of ADHD - inability to pay attention and impulsiveness and hyperactivity.
It was licensed in the UK in July 2004 and can be given to children aged six upwards.
The most commonly prescribed treatment for those with ADHD, however, remains the stimulant Ritalin (methylphenidate).
Andrea Bilbow, chief executive of the ADHD charity ADDISS, said: "The risk is very small. The benefits still likely outweigh any risk.
"Parents should not be alarmed. If a child is on Strattera and doing well, don't stop.
"If they are concerned, they should go and discuss this with their doctor. And doctors should be screening users for suicidal thoughts."
She said because of the nature of ADHD, many children with the condition were already vulnerable and at risk of suicidal thoughts and should be monitored regularly anyway.
"These kids what ever drug they are on do need to be monitored more often."
She said around 40,000 children in England and Wales had been diagnosed with ADHD and were on some form of medication for the condition.
However, because ADHD is under-recognised, as many as 400,000 could actually have the condition, or 5% of children.
The drug's manufacturer Eli Lilly said that while suicidal thinking was uncommon in patients on the medication during clinical trials, it was important for parents to be aware that it can occur and to discuss any unusual symptoms with their child's doctor.
The drug Strattera has also been linked to liver damage.