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Ritalin Warning

The British advisory body that determines guidelines for doctors has warned that Ritalin should only be prescribed to children as a last resort. The organization has also advised that children under five not be given the medication at all.
"[The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence], which decides on the guidelines given to doctors, says parents should be taught how to manage their child's disorder instead. The advisory body and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health are aiming to provide a blueprint of best practice with the new guidelines."
The cause of ADHD is uncertain, though both genetic and environmental factors are thought to be factors. Source: Southern FM (Brighton, UK)

Labels: medications, side_effects, pediatricians

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Beware of Finding ADHD Everywhere

Fourteen leading researchers have signed a letter cautioning that a new proposal would lead to increased diagnosis of ADHD among children. The proposal would train teachers how to spot ADHD behavior in their students.
"Dr Graham and her colleagues say that such an approach would encourage teachers 'to act as proxy-diagnosticians by looking for evidence of particular deficits, perhaps missing vital signs which may indicate other difficulties at home or with learning.'"
The group also criticized a proposal that would attach additional funding to ADHD diagnoses. The concern is that such a proposal would further encourage over-diagnosis. Source: Medical Condition News

Labels: research, diagnosis, pediatricians

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Groups Clash on Heart Tests for Youth on ADHD Meds

The American Academy of Pediatrics has renewed the debate over heart tests for kids on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medication by announcing a new policy that most kids don't need a special cardiac screening.
"The pediatricians' group says advice earlier this year from the American Heart Association recommending EKGs was overzealous because these rare deaths are more common in the general population than among children on stimulants."
Approximately four million U.S. children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and about half of these children are being treated with stimulant medication. The academy agrees that children should get a thorough physical exam and their family history should be checked for heart problems, but feels EKGs are unnecessary in most cases. Source: Chicago Sun-Times

Labels: pediatricians, heart_test, stimulants

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Finding Balance with Doctors

Parents and pediatricians have the same goals; to keep children healthy, happy, and on a positive developmental path. But they sometimes have differing ideas of how to achieve those goals. As a parent, how do you get past the roadblock (or avoid it altogether) when a pediatrician's suggested treatment goes against your parental experience or instinct?
"The trick here [Dr. Delia Chiaramonte] says, is to stand firm, even when you know you're annoying the doctor. 'You have to let go of the desire to be the good patient and make everyone like you,' she says. She recommends questioning the doctor thoroughly."
Respect the pediatrician's years of study and practice, but make sure he or she respects your knowledge and experience as a parent as well. When it comes to your child's care, ask all the questions you need to, don't be afraid to questions a diagnosis if a treatment isn't working, and exercise your right to get a second (even a third and fourth) opinion.

Labels: medications, treatment, pediatricians

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Tips for Vyvanse

Vyvanse, one of the newest ADHD treatment drugs, has been on the market since July, 2007. To date, the feedback has been excellent. Dr. Charles Parker offers some tips for parents, children and/or patients considering Vyvanse to treat ADHD.
"Always start at the lower dose: 30mg which roughly equals Adderall XR 10mg. They may be on higher doses, even 40 mg of the Adderall XR, but always go low and slow. Its more efficacious [effective], and if you start at 50mg which roughly equals 20mg Adderall XR, it can give them an unpleasant feeling."
Because Vyvanse is a slow-release medication, taking another dose later in the day shouldn't be necessary. Dr. Parker also advises that the body tolerates psych meds better if accompanied by a protein breakfast. Read more at CorePsychBlog.com.

Outdoor education programs can help children with ADHD get away from stimulants and work on correcting their behaviors. WildernessProgramsInfo.com offers more information about outdoor education programs.

Labels: medications, treatment, pediatricians

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Treatments for Kids with ADHD Work, but Need Monitoring

A new study from the National Institute of Health suggests that treatments for Attention Deficit Disorder can help youngsters, but doctors need to monitor them from time to time.

Researchers assigned 600 children ages 6 to 9 years randomly to one of four treatment groups. The first group received medications from ADHD specialists. The second received medications and behavioral therapy. The third group received drugs from their family doctors, and finally the last group received only therapy. After fourteen months, the first two groups improved the most. However, three years later, all four groups showed similar improvements and the advantages of medications waned.
"Many kids do better over time," said Peter Jensen, director of Columbia University's Center for the Advancement of Children's Mental Health. "They should start drugs and stop as needed."
This study appears in the August issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Cedars Academy is a private school for children with non verbal learning disorder, ADHD, and Asperger's Syndrome. Visit CedarsAcademy.com to learn more.

Labels: research, treatment, pediatricians

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U.S. Consumes Most ADHD Medication

It's time for kids to get ready to go back to school. Among the ads for school supplies and clothing will be ads for something else: ADHD medication. Though the United Nations passed a treaty banning direct-to-consumer marketing of ADHD drugs, the ads still appear in American magazines, newspapers, and on television.
"Children in the United States are 10 times more likely to take a stimulant medication for ADHD than are kids in Europe. In fairness, children in Europe are also somewhat less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD because of a stricter set of criteria. But that doesn't nearly account for the difference in prescription rates. The United States, the only nation to violate the U.N. treaty, consumes about 85 percent of the stimulants manufactured for ADHD."
Doctors, in increasing numbers, are telling stories of parents who have 'diagnosed' their children and already have a specific ADHD drug in mind. Many in the medical community are calling for the FDA and Justice Department to force compliance with the U.N. treaty in the United States - stating that these medications are potentially harmful if misused. Read more at Courant.com.

Labels: medications, diagnosis, pediatricians

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"Godfather" of ADHD Diagnoses Voices Concern

Twenty-five years ago, when other doctors were calling rowdy, uncontrollable children "brats", Dr. Robert Spitzer developed a different classification - ADHD. His ground-breaking classification table gave doctors the tool they needed to more accurately diagnose ADD and ADHD. Now, more than two decades later, Dr. Spitzer's opinion has taken an unexpected turn.
"He says 30 percent of children diagnosed with a mental disorder don't actually have it and are instead showing perfectly normal signs of being happy or sad. 'Many of these conditions might be normal reactions which are not really disorders.' Dr. Spitzer said."
While he's not dismissing his revolutionary classification table altogether, he is urging caution - for parents and doctors alike - when diagnosing ADD or ADHD in children. For some, behavioral therapy may be more beneficial than medication. Read more at News.com.

Labels: diagnosis, pediatricians, classification

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