ADHD: Risky Treatment, Fruitful Prevention

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Has anyone else wondered why the cases of ADHD seem to have skyrocketed over the last few years? Does that seem fishy to anyone but me, that a "disease" that was virtually un-heard of over a century ago should now become so prevalent, and that so many children should be on medication?

While a voice sing-songs in the back of my head "it's all about the money," there is likely a little more to it than that. However, I am sick and tired that the first solution is always a band-aid--I mean, a prescription--not something that will help prevent and cure the problem.

This article addresses some of the recent concerns of the fatal risks of ADHD drugs--and, I was gratified to note that while the American FDA may be "playing God" again in the lives of their citizens (although maybe I shouldn't say that, because God gave Adam and Eve an informed choice), Health Canada has issued warnings about the use of ADHD drugs.

While scientists clash over the dangers of ADHD drugs, the U.S. government does nothing to protect children: "In late May 2006, Health Canada issued warnings of heart risks -- including sudden death -- on all drugs used to treat ADHD. 'The effects are usually mild or moderate, but in some patients, this stimulation may -- in rare cases -- result in cardiac arrests, strokes or sudden death,' the agency warned. Health Canada issued the warning even though no deaths caused by ADHD drugs have been reported in Canada.

The FDA is being sluggish to issue warnings on the newest risks ADHD drugs pose to users, the majority of which are children. It forms committees such as the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory committee, which convened in February 2006, and the Pediatric Advisory Committee, which convened in March 2006 and was attended by FDA epidemiologists and physicians, as well as two representatives from Big Pharma, to discuss if and how patients should be warned about the dangers of ADHD drugs. Notably, both committees did not find the need for a black-box warning 'warranted.'

One might wonder why Canada -- which has suffered zero deaths because of ADHD drugs (thus far) -- found the need for a warning 'warranted' and acted quickly to issue it, while the United States, which has suffered 25 deaths (19 involving children) because of ADHD drugs, has effectively done nothing to warn its citizens of the dangers of such medications.

While the United States has a few lobbyists on the side of public health arguing for strong warnings and patient education on ADHD drugs, it seems no one has considered the third alternative: That ADHD can be prevented, rather than treated."

The article goes on to talk about some easy ways to prevent and treat ADHD--from your kitchen.

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  1. Hi, I'm all caught up on your blogs. Your puppy is so cute! I like her name too. I concur, we're an over medicated society (although I do believe ADHD is legit and some kids really do benefit from medication). However, I do think medication for ADHD is over perscribed and the side effects are often worse than the actual problems. It's hard to say what to do b/c I'm not a parent at my wits end, nor am I a doctor, nor am I a scientist. (Although I just had my first class at RDC. It's a Brain & Behavior class - which is all about neuroscience. I think it's gonna be facinating!)

  2. I'm in complete agreement!! It can be cured from your kitchen!! And I'm so glad that you are a concerned Mom that is doing that very thing....because it not only benefits you, but also my precious grandsons!!

  3. Ang - YAY! Yes, Suri is very cute.

    I think that there are times and places for medication, but yes, it is too often used in replacement of an actual solution. "Quick-fix." And no one is funding research into things that will actually fix the problem, because those things will not make hugely insane profits for the pharmaceutical industry.

    Brain & Behaviour--that should be interesting! I can't wait to hear about it.

    Mom - Thanks for the encouragement.


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