These days, doctors’ favorite diagnosis for U.S. kids seems to be ADHD. A FDA research shows that Ritalin, Vyvanse, Focalin and the like have become the number one medication for U.S. teens. In fact the report warns that ADHD medication for kids is on the rise when it comes to the drugs doctors give out.
On the overall, ADHD drugs are thought to be effective. However, the stimulant effects of most of the ADHD medication can easily entice teenagers to head towards abuse. A research published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that ADHD medication prescriptions for kids are on the rise, while antibiotics use has fell by 14 percent.
FDA analyzed sales and prescription reports for over 2,000 drugs in the attempt to find the 30 most prescribed drugs for kids up to 17 years old. Between 2002 and 2010, researchers noticed that while doctors were prescribing these kids less antibiotics, the number of prescriptions for ADHD drugs has raised significantly.
During the analyzed time period, doctors have prescribed 50 percent more ADHD drugs. In 2010, there were 5 million U.S. kids diagnosed with ADHD and experts believe it was the increase in patient rates and improvement in medication that determined the spike.
Dr. Andrew Adesman, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Chief for NY’s Steven and Alexandra Children’s Medical Center, told CNN that the spike in number of prescriptions reflects both the increase in children and teenagers with ADGD and “the availability of markedly improved medicines”.
FDA says the research will help experts get a better grip of what and how medications are used in the treatment of children. But opponents of the ADHD – methylphenidate based drugs in kids could argue the spike is proof doctors are taking the diagnosis at ease.
ABC News writes that Dr. Martin Stein, pediatrics professor with the San Diego School of Medicine, believes most of the new ADHD diagnoses are faulty. “It’s not a slam-dunk diagnosis. The most important thing is to get the diagnosis right, and there are very strict criteria that must be met”.
The worry with ADHD drugs is that their active substance is a stimulant known as methylphenidate. More and more kids are being treated with Ritalin or other ADHD medications when it’s not in fact the case. Some are put on Ritalin at their teacher’s request, while others fake the symptoms believing some ADHD medication would help with their SAT’s.