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Rethinking Ritalin

October 22, 1999 • Volume 9, Issue 40
Is it overprescribed for children with ADD?
By Kathy Koch

Introduction

Most of the world's Ritalin is consumed in the United States, mostly by suburban white boys. (Photo Credit: Corbis Images)
Most of the world's Ritalin is consumed in the United States, mostly by suburban white boys. (Photo Credit: Corbis Images)

Arecent National Institutes of Health conference called inconsistent diagnosis and treatment of children with attention deficit disorder “a major public health problem.” The most popular drug for treating ADD is Ritalin, or methylphenidate. In the past decade, methylphenidate production rose eightfold while production of amphetamines, also used to treat ADD, jumped 20-fold. Critics argue that ADD is being overdiagnosed, that stimulants are overprescribed to treat it and that long-term pediatric use of such powerful drugs poses serious health risks. But scientists, ADD experts and medical associations say that while isolated cases of overdiagnosing may occur, many more ADD cases still go undiagnosed and untreated.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Learning Disabilities
Nov. 10, 2000  Special Education
Oct. 22, 1999  Rethinking Ritalin
Dec. 10, 1993  Learning Disabilities
Dec. 29, 1989  Coping with Learning Disabilities
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Maternal and Child Health Care
Pharmaceuticals
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