created over 4 years ago | Tagged:
New data on long-term drug therapies for hyperactive children link the commonly prescribed medications with stunted growth -- a result doctors have suspected for years, but may not have properly reported, sources say.
The new data are related to a scientific study of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), known as the MTA study.
When first released in 1999, the study�s glowing conclusions about the benefits of medications such as Adderall and Concerta helped spark a rapid increase in the number of prescriptions being issued for children.
By 2004, doctors were writing 28.3 million ADHD prescriptions per year. By last year, according to a report in the Washington Post, that number had increased to 39.5 million annually.
One finding that has been scientifically verified: A 2007 follow-up review showed that children taking the drugs for three years were approximately six pounds lighter and 1 inch shorter than children with the same malady who did not take the drugs.
Moreover, there are no observable difference between children who have been given the drugs and those who have not -- suggesting the drugs� benefits may be temporary. Doctors warn that patients should not cease taking prescribed medications without consulting their physician.
It also warned of psychological addiction and a potential for drug abuse, however. And it reported that in many states possession of the drugs without a prescription is a felony.