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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 drugs—Ritalin and Dexadrine—as
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.]

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