The overall rise in the number of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs being dispensed to children has been a major cause of concern among some medical groups, particularly as such drugs are now being prescribed to children under the age of six. In the UK, National Health Service (NHS) guidelines restrict the prescription of ADHD drugs to children under age six, but a recent report in the UK Guardian says that some doctors are unlawfully prescribing the drugs to children as young as four years old.
Researchers from the Centre for Paediatric and Pharmacy Research compiled data showing that prescription rates for ADHD drugs like Ritalin are highest among the age six to 12 category, which is the youngest age category for which they can legally be prescribed. And between 2004 and 2008, prescription rates doubled in this category, jumping to eight out of every 1,000 children.
But according to Professor Tim Kendall, joint director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health and former chair of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guideline committee, confirmed reports indicate that doctors often illegally prescribe ADHD drugs for children even younger than six, and they do so without a comprehensive diagnosis. And in many cases, he says parents actually push doctors to prescribe the drugs as a quick-fix solution to perceived behavioral problems that may not even exist.
“There are two reasons why parents go shopping for a diagnosis,” he said to the Guardian. “The first is to improve their child’s performance at school, and the second is to get access to benefits. There are always GPs (general practitioners) that will do it, but it’s wrong to give a child a diagnosis without also consulting schools and teachers.”
Previous research has highlighted the dangerous side effects caused by taking many popular ADHD drugs, including serious hallucinations and psychosis (http://www.naturalnews.com/025433_drug_drugs…). ADHD drugs can also lead to an increased risk of heart problems, according to a 2008 study published in the journal Pediatrics (http://www.naturalnews.com/023510_adhd_drugs…).
Sources for this story include: