SOURCE: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) May Be Undertreated, Not Overtreated With Drugs, Says Researcher at The Children's Hospital of PhiladelphiaChildren's Hospital of Philadelphia PHILADELPHIA, March 10 (1999) /PRNewswire/ -- There has been considerable public concern that medicines such as Ritalin® may be overprescribed for children with attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But a child psychiatry researcher at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia indicates that, if anything, ADHD may be undertreated.
[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
To counter the public perception that the number of children diagnosed with so-
called ADHD strains credibility, or is unbelievable, they claim " that, if
anything, ADHD may be undertreated." They say this with no objective means by
which to diagnose it; by which to tell those with ADHD from normals. They say this
with no objective means to know the true incidence. They say this with no objective
means by which to prove that a single child they say has ADHD has an actual
Disease = physical or chemical abnormality (demonstrable by physician-ordered-test, patient-by-patient). No disease = no physical or chemical abnormality =
normal. ADHD = no physical or chemical abnormality (no pencil-paper behavior test
demonstrates a physical or chemical abnormality) = normal = no disease].
Approximately 4 to 5 percent of children are receiving medication for the disorder, roughly half of the estimated 10 percent of school-age children who have ADHD, says Josephine Elia, M.D., of the Hospital's Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, in the March 11 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. ``Many children who could benefit from medical treatment are being missed, especially girls, who are more likely than boys to have the inattentive subtype of ADHD,'' says Dr. Elia. A child with inattentive symptoms of ADHD is easily distracted, disorganized and appears not to listen. Dr. Elia reviewed the clinical research record of two drugs, methylphenidate (Ritalin®) and dextroamphetamine (Dexadrine®) used in treating ADHD. Both medications, she says, are long-established, effective and safe, and should be regarded as treatments of choice for the disorder.
[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
To know why Dr. Elia speaks of ADHD as a disease, when it is not, and of
addictive, dangerous, sometimes deadly drugsRitalin and Dexadrineas
necessary for normal children, one would have to know all of her funding sources,
and all of the funding sources of the institutions and departments with which she is
affiliated. And the same applies to the vaunted New England Journal of Medicine,
whose editors, like all physicians are responsible for knowing that ADHD has never
been validated as a disease, the children as other than normal.]