A federal expert advisory panel to the FDA
recently recommended that black-box warning labels be put on many of the drugs perscribed for the newly fashionable condition of ADD/ADHD. To the surprise of the FDA, the panel actually went further than its original scope in the evaluation of ADD/ADHD medications. This was probably met with horror by Shire Pharmacueticals, which sells Adderall, and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, maker of Ritalin. But, they did not go far enough.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines ADD/ADHD as follows:
The principal characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.Sound like a boy you know? Or, like just about every boy you know?
If your answer is yes, this expansive definition is probably the reason that, according to the expert adisory panel, nearly 10% of America's 10 year old boys are on one ADD/ADHD drugs, usually either Adderall or Ritilan.
"On the surface, it is hard to believe," said Curt Furberg, professor of public health sciences at North Carolina's Wake Forest University Medical School, who voted for the black-box warning. "What is also interesting is this condition is not really recognized in other countries -- you wonder what we are treating. I am sure there are patients who need these drugs, but it is not 10 percent of all 10-year-old boys."Yes, it is hard to believe. Adderall, Ritillan, and other drugs like them are power stimulants. The poor boys that have been perscibed these drugs are caught in the cross-current of two powerful forces. The first is the feminization of the public school system, whereby the natural exuberance of 10 year old boys is expected to be modified in order to make them behave like 10 year girls. Ironically, these types of stimulants do cause boys to focus, because stimulants cause all people to focus more, sometimes to obsession.
The second force is that of the pharmacuetical industry. Drug ompanies, like all other companies, are constantly seeking new markets. Once ADD/ADHD was identified as a possible syndrome in children, Notaris found a home for Ritilan, which now generates over $500 million dollars in sales. Shire saw the same opporunity for Adderral, and began heavy TV advertising which successfully convinced many people that the distractions of modern living are actually a disease that needs to be treated with meds.
Shire and Novartis have been so succesfull in marketing their drugs that public school teachers routinely demand that children in their classes by put on one of these drugs. For them, the drugs are a quick fix to the often rambunctious behavior of little boys.
Well, yeah, cocaine also makes a user focus more than normal. I experimented with that drug a few times long ago and found it made me very intensely focused on whatever I was doing (or whoever I was talking to). It also made me grind my teeth and act like a jerk. Because they are powerful stimulants, the effects of drugs like Ritillan and Adderall are much the same. And, just like with cocaine, when you come down off the "high," you begin craving more.
Now, the rooster is coming back to the nest. Canada has revoked Shire's clearance to sell Adderall based on a study showing that the drug sometimes causes sudden death, heart ploblems, and strokes. Since Adderall is a powerful stimulant, it's hardly surprising that it would have these side effects.
While it seems obvious that these drugs are dangerous, one has to wonder why they are so freely perscribed to so many people diagnosed with a questionable problem that doctors do not even recognize in most of the rest of the world. A new panel should looks specifically into why 10% of adolescent boys in the US are perscribed this crap.
What needs to be studied is the underlying reason that so many perfectly healthy boys are being forced onto a "On the surface, it is hard to believe," said Curt Furberg, professor of public health sciences at North Carolina's Wake Forest University Medical School, who voted for the black-box warning. "What is also interesting is this condition is not really recognized in other countries -- you wonder what we are treating. I am sure there are patients who need these drugs, but it is not 10 percent of all 10-year-old boysmedication While we continue to play with the futures of so many young men, Canada has got smart and pulled Adderall from the shelves. Nobody seems concerned about the long term physiological and psychological affects of these drugs. Someone should be asking.
It is ironic that the federal government spends so much money trying to convince kids to "just say no," but then turns its head the other way when such powerful drugs are being given to so many young kids, especially boys, under the guise of a medical condition.
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