ADHD children 'suffer strokes'

Reply Sun 26 Mar, 2006 02:31 pm


Child drugs linked to heart attack

Clara Pirani, Medical reporter
March 27, 2006

CHILDREN as young as five have suffered strokes, heart attacks, hallucinations and convulsions after taking drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Documents obtained by The Australian reveal that almost 400 serious adverse reactions have been reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, some involving children as young as three.

Cases include the sudden death of a seven-year-old, and a five-year-old who suffered a stroke after taking Ritalin. Children also experienced heart palpitations and shortness of breath after taking Dexamphetamine.

Others taking Ritalin or Dexamphetamine - the two most commonly used ADHD drugs - experienced hair loss, muscle spasms, severe abdominal pain, tremors, insomnia, severe weight loss, depression and paranoia.

Almost 60 of the adverse-reaction reports dating back to 1980, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, involved children under the age of 10.

The TGA has asked pharmaceutical companies to provide updated information about any cardiovascular side effects involving ADHD medication. "The TGA is currently reviewing this new information," a TGA spokeswoman said.

Prescriptions for Ritalin increased tenfold after the drug was listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in August last year, reducing the cost from $49 to $29.50, or $4.70 for concession card holders.

More than 5800 prescriptions were written for Ritalin in January this year, compared with 523 in August last year. Prescriptions for Dexamphetamine jumped from 96,000 a year to 232,000 in the 10 years to 2004-05.

The US Food and Drug Administration is reviewing 90 studies to determine whether ADHD drugs were linked to the deaths of 25 people, including 19 children, between 1999 and 2003.

The drugs were also associated with 54 cases of cardiovascular episodes, including heart attacks, strokes and serious heartbeat disturbances.

Last week, a panel of pediatric experts advising the FDA recommended new information about psychiatric and heart risks be added to the labels of ADHD drugs.

They declined to recommend the "black box" warning - the strongest for prescription drugs - which a different advisory panel endorsed last month.

The FDA will consider both panels' recommendations before making a final labelling decision.

While officials said there was no conclusive evidence that the medications caused psychiatric episodes or heart problems, they noted a "complete absence" of similar reports in children treated with placebos during trials of ADHD drugs.

A spokeswoman for Novartis Australia, which makes Ritalin, said warnings regarding adverse reactions were constantly reviewed. "We welcome the opportunity to work with the TGA to ensure the labelling is as accurate as possible," she said.

Melbourne psychologist Joe Tucci said some ADHD drugs had the potential to cause long-term side effects.

"There is certainly a small group of children who would benefit from ADHD drugs, but it's far fewer than the number of children who are currently being prescribed medication," he said.

Others warned that the number of adverse reactions may be much higher because the TGA excludes reports where the cause of side effects is "unclear". Shelley Wilkins, executive director of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which lobbies against the use of psychiatric medication on children, said many side effects were not reported.

"There is no mandatory reporting in Australia for adverse side-effects for psychiatric drugs," she said. "This needs to be rectified immediately so we can see the true extent of the damage being done."

Fremantle psychiatrist Lois Achimovich said doctors were prescribing medication too often, particularly in very young children.

"Any child behaviour that looks abnormal is being diagnosed as ADHD and drugs are prescribed. They should not be used in children that young."

source: The Australian, Monday March 26, 2006, frontpage & online version
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Reply Sun 26 Mar, 2006 02:33 pm
This exponentially multiplies the tragedy many of these children suffer.

So sad.
0 Replies
queen annie
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 11:06 am
At the hands of the adults who are supposed to be exercising good judgment. It is an atrocity, in every way. It is our fault as adults--and if its sad then we ought to suck up our tears and do something about it.
Because we are killing children. That's heinous.

Kids don't need chemicals! It's not a syndrome, it's called intelligence--a mind that's running to a slightly different gear ratio. It's something concocted only in the recent years of our over-medicated ill-advised society. It makes some people a lot of money through pharmaceuticals and consumer driven healthcare, it sells books for anyone willing to tout opinion as expert advice, and it makes the rest of us feel better about the way the next generation is going to turn out. It's not promising, regardless.

Jefferson Montessori academies (what I so far have learned, based on the one locally established here) seem to be a great deal more effective in 'treating' this so-called disorder (which didn't even exist when I was a kid, 37 years ago.)

I know I'll get jumped on by someone for what I'm saying....

Yes, I do know several kids (well) that supposedly have this 'syndrome.' None of them have any sort of deficit! They are highly intelligent, with restless minds and endless creativity and imagination. I have researched this quite a bit--both when I was an RN and afterward. This type of thing is one of the reasons I 'retired' from the healthcare field. It became a question of conscience and integrity.

What if we had given Einstein a daily dose of Ritalin? Or Thomas Edison? Steven Hawking?

They grew up in a time where evaluations weren't made according to a 28 minute sitcom standard of
'attention spans' or colored by variegated shades of adult immaturity compounded by several generations of babies having babies. (and yes, been there, too!)

I'm not pointing fingers at anyone else or criticizing from a superior position. I'm pointing a finger of blame at all of us--and at the same time forgiving us all because obviously we are trying to do the best we can. But perhaps we should try another approach. No problem can be solved through the same mode of thinking that it came from, in the first place. (or something like that. Mark Twain's wisdom, I believe, certainly not mine)

This tirade is one that my mirror or dog has been spared today... hee hee
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Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 11:21 am
I really wonder under what circumstances a doctor would prescribe Ritalin to a preschooler?

That just seems too weird.

I do think there are legitimate cases of ADHD but I think a lot of the problems could be resolved by reinstituting PE and recess in schools.
0 Replies
queen annie
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 12:15 pm
Right on, Boomerang! I totally agree. Playing outside doesn't seem to be the thing to do these days. Some good reasons (more social disintegration) and perhaps even because of the two-parents working situation which is the norm these days--latchkey kids come home, go inside because it is safer...

As far as why would a doctor prescribe Rx's to toddlers/preschoolers?

From what I've learned of modern healthcare, it has become a consumer driven industry rather than a necessary service for human well-being and survival.

What I mean is this: Dr.'s prescribe meds during office visits because the patients have come to expect it. If we feel ill or something, go to see the Dr. and don't get some sort of Rx to fill--do we feel we have received the most for our insurance buck? The answer is No. We think medicine cures our ills so we expect medicine as treatment. Often this even takes the place of actual diagnosis!

If 'consumers' (patients) aren't happy, Doctors aren't busy. If Doctors aren't busy, then Doctors aren't successful (or maybe just financially affluent.) When the hospitals (those which are 'for-profit'--the rule rather than the exception these days) are not bustling, profits are down and stockholders aren't happy....

It's become something we used to call 'corporate medicine.'

To top that off, pharmaceutical companies are no longer just suppliers of basic formulas, they are competing financial empires. They have salesmen who court the physicians and given them incentives to prescribe their newest formula. So, not only are there too many meds being dispensed, the generic ones quickly become unpopular in favor of the newer 'better' drugs (which cost a lot more for a period of something like 7 years until they can go generic according to the FDA). Even if you have a $5 copay every time you go to the pharmacy--the profit snowball continues to grow.

It's truly a mess. When I quit nursing, it broke my heart. But you know, I have never regretted it for even a moment? I learned so much and even still continue to learn based on my education and experience and more than that, I have now become my mom's 'private duty live in' nurse! Something I am honored to be, BTW.

It's a huge problem, from my perspective--and I think my view is a rare one--either people have no idea or else they see nothing wrong with it, being on the inside of the machine. Making 'good money' seems to be the greatest incentive, rather than holistic healing of body, mind, and soul. We are making ourselves truly ill in our never-ending quest for 'health.' (Which would be a lot easier without anything but absolutely necessary, and ideally temporary, chemical adjuncts.)

Experience has proven to me, as well, that health and healing is 99% mental and 1% physical. I don't mean christian science or excessive homeopathic treatment.

Just good old fashioned stoicism combined with regular 'housecleaning' to prevent resentment and hurt from building up inside your soul/psyche/heart/etc.
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queen annie
Reply Mon 27 Mar, 2006 12:17 pm
It just dawned on my boorish, long-winded, self--

Boomerang--did you say recess and PE has become extinct?


Wow. Kids should at least have the option of failing PE to take in summer school, IMO... hee hee

That's crazy!
0 Replies
Reply Tue 28 Mar, 2006 05:22 pm
My son had PE and recess, but was still active in the classroom at times. One teacher tried to tell me he was "borderline ADHD," but I knew better. We have an ADHD boy across the street who plays with my son all the time. The difference is striking.

The problem is, schools want boys to act like girls, and they're willing to advise parents to medicate when their sons are "overly" (ahem) active. It's about time schools begin to realize that boys are always going to be more physical and active than girls and adjust their teaching accordingly.
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Reply Tue 28 Mar, 2006 05:26 pm
Time to stop letting them drug our kids!

I wouldn't let them have mine ;-)
0 Replies
queen annie
Reply Tue 28 Mar, 2006 08:04 pm
Good for you!
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Reply Tue 28 Mar, 2006 09:46 pm
There was a doctor on one of the morning tv shows talking about this today. I put the tv on for background noise while I have breakfast so I wasn't paying full attention to what he was saying, but he had a clinic and was horrified at the number of children coming to him that had just been sedated by these drugs.

One thing he did say (and I may very well be taking this out of context) was that tests showed that ADHD kids were lacking Omega3 Fatty Acids.

With all the fast foods around, not enough people are eating cold-water fish these days. He said this was not an instant cure as it takes time for the O3FA's to build up in the brain, but he did recommend these fish 3-4 times a week - or at least taking a fish oil capsule.

Wish I'd taken more notice.
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Reply Tue 28 Mar, 2006 09:58 pm
Of course, you then have to deal with the mercury levels.....
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Reply Wed 29 Mar, 2006 11:22 am
Now that makes more sense than anything I've heard so far.

Thanks for posting that :-)
0 Replies
Reply Wed 29 Mar, 2006 11:32 am
Wow this is important stuff that we need to be...
Hey look its sunny outside, Imgoin out.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 29 Mar, 2006 11:44 am
I've given this a lot of thought and it makes sense that the change in diet for the kids today could be the problem.
When my mom was a child her family ate tons of fish and vegetables. My grandfather was a fisherman and my grandmother stayed home to care for 11 children and a large garden full of veggies.
My grandma would can enough fish and veggitables for the winter.
They also had their own chickens for eggs and traded fish for meat with the local farmers.

Anyway, I look at the way things have changed in the way we all eat since then.
Also, most of the women today need to work outside the home to help provide, so it's not easy to have healthy meals prepared every day.

I am one who truly questions what they are putting in our food these days.
0 Replies
Reply Wed 29 Mar, 2006 11:46 am
farmerman wrote:
Wow this is important stuff that we need to be...
Hey look its sunny outside, Imgoin out.

Yeah, it is sunny outside, but it's still too cold for me Laughing

And, no I don't have a life Razz
0 Replies

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