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21 May 2006 03:00:27 +0000
(Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
May 18, 2006 Thursday
PHARMACIST SUZY COHEN
ADHD DRUGS NOT A CURE
By: Suzy Cohen, a registered pharmacist, syndicated writer for
the Tribune Media Services
Dear Pharmacist: My 8-year-old son just started
medicine for ADHD. My husband disagrees with his taking the medicine;
he says our son is "all boy" and that I can't handle him. But the
doctor prescribed the medicine, I didn't force it. His teachers
recommended it. Do you think I should continue? --
L.D., Fort Lauderdale
Dear L.D.: As a mother myself, I understand the emotional pain you must
feel about a child who isn't faring well. The controversy surrounding
ADHD and its treatments creates agony for many families.
You husband sees his rambunctious son as "all boy"
and his concern has merit -- you shouldn't medicate a child who is
merely distracted or fidgety. Impulsive dispositions need to be
differentiated from human tornadoes who recklessly run into streets.
ADHD isn't completely understood, so it can't be
cured, just treated. Parents struggle because diagnosis is subjective;
there are no blood tests or MRIs to make a diagnosis conclusive.
Controversy shrouds ADHD and its possible connection to everyday
toxins, lead paint, food allergies, immunizations containing mercury,
genetics and chemical imbalances.
Most prescribed medications for ADHD are
amphetamine stimulants. In normal adults, they act like uppers, but in
kids with ADHD, they slow the brain down. Popular ones
include Ritalin (methylphenidate), Adderall, Dextroamphetamine and
Amphetamines can speed heart rate, raise blood
pressure, cause stomach aches, dizziness, insomnia and eye wiggling.
Long-term use may cause agitation and hostility. ADHD drugs reduce
appetite, which, by the way, can stunt growth, according to a new study
presented at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies meeting.
Toxic side effects occur more often in kids than
adults. The question isn't: Should I treat my child? Rather, it is:
What natural or pharmaceutical
options should I use to help my child feel better with little or no
Generally speaking, Americans have been
indoctrinated into taking heavily advertised drugs dispensed like
candy, deemed by the FDA as "safe and effective" until one day ...
guess what? They are no longer deemed safe and effective. I fear this
will happen with some ADHD drugs.
This information is not intended to treat, cure or
diagnose your condition. Always consult your physician. Suzy
Cohen is a registered pharmacist. For more information or to contact
her, visit www.dearpharmacist.com
(Note: The above advice also appeared in Newsday
(New York), May 16, 2006, The Times Union (Albany, New York), May 16,
Tulsa World (Oklahoma), May 13, 2006).