GPs 'Giving Ritalin to Babies Under A Year Old'
By PAUL SIMS
30th July 2007
Thousands of children are needlessly being prescribed mind-altering powerful drugs for hyperactivity, according to opposition MPs.
Research suggests that some GPs are even handing out Ritalin pills to children under a year old.
Almost 400,000 youngsters aged between five and 19 are being treated with Ritalin and similar drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, despite fears about the drugs' side-effects.
The Conservative Party says the number of prescriptions for behavioural problems has risen by 156 per cent in the last six years.
Those diagnosed with ADHD often display disruptive behaviour and have difficulty paying attention to specific tasks.
In the last five years alone, NHS spending on stimulant drugs such as Ritalin has trebled - despite concerns over the potential health risks.
Official guidelines recommend drug treatment only for the most severely affected children. But the Tories claim that Ritalin and similar drugs are being prescribed to those with mild symptoms.
A formal diagnosis of ADHD should take many hours, but they say some GPs are prescribing powerful drugs after brief consultations.
This is despite reports of sideeffects such as cardiovascular disorders, hallucinations and even suicidal thoughts.
At least nine deaths have been reported to the UK's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency since Ritalin became available in the early 1990s. Shadow Commons leader Theresa May said: "They are powerful prescription drugs and we don't know what their long-term effects are. Despite this, they are being given to children before they are a year old.
"I have no doubt that there are children in the UK with ADHD who will benefit from Ritalin.
"But the increase of prescriptions raises questions in my mind as to whether it is being prescribed properly in each and every case.
"A six-year-old who was prescribed Ritalin experienced low moods and marked depression and tried to throw himself out of a window within two months of starting treatment. He recovered after drug withdrawal."
She is calling on NHS bosses to review their policy on prescribing such drugs. "With such widespread use of these prescription medicines we need a review of the current guidelines, with a view to tightening them," she said.
"More research should be done into the effectiveness of non-drug treatment and natural remedies to treat ADHD."
As there are no official records on the number of children prescribed Ritalin in Britain, the Tories used research compiled from global studies conducted over the past decade.
It comes after a report by the University of California showed the use of ADHD drugs has tripled worldwide since 1993.
Monthly prescriptions for Ritalin in England and Wales increased from 4,000 in 1994 to 359,000 in 2004, it claimed.
But Andrea Bilbow, chief executive of ADHD charity Addiss, dismissed the research as "misleading" and claimed that the disorder was still "under-diagnosed and underprescribed".
News and commentary on the autism epidemic and my beautiful boy who is living with autism.
July 31, 2007
Ritalin For Infants
Good God. I will have to look it up, but I am pretty sure this is one of the signs of the end times.
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Oh my gosh...that is ridiculous!!
so ginger in the new nature medicine article mercury rising they said your blog gets 500 visits a day. the truth laid bear ecosystem says 234 right now and an average of 300. were you just fudging it a bit or what? kev leitch also quote in that article says he gets 4000 unique visits a day.
How on earth do they determine that a 1yo needs Ritalin? That's insane!
I have been to kev leitch's blog several times before & may well find myself there again at some point - be assured that does not make me a groupie. Visits may reflect exposure but they sure don't make a fan club.
Have not read the nature medicine article yet.
It was getting that much traffic at the time of the interview (during the trial). The whole month of June ended up averaging about 400 a day.
The longer version of the blog traffic spike can be found here, http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2007/07/something-has-happened.html
graphs and all.
The point that I made during the interview was that I was getting a huge spike in traffic and it was not just parents coming any more, but government agencies, health institutions and professional organizations that were coming all the sudden. Don't know if she made that point in discussing the stats or not.
better link to the stats discussion.
I am guessing if a baby is waving his arms and legs to much, he needs meds.
"Hey you... baby... stop laughing so much and pay attention to 'Baby Einstien'!
Wow. Just wow.
I was never a fan of drugging kids for their behavior. Until I met my step-son. He was five at the time, and we took a year to figure out what behaviors were learned from his biomom and what were intrinsically him. It wasn't the hyperactivity that worried us, it was the complete and total lack of impulse control.
After spending six hours with a myriad of professional child behavior experts at Walter Reed, we finally had to diagnoses. Autism and ADHD.
Once we put him on Concerta, he became a different person. He became HIMSELF. It was amazing! This child who had, for so long, lived in a hot or cold, black or white world, suddenly had warm and gray to choose from. You know, the areas that keep you sane?
Concerta was made EXACTLY for my child. It made a world of difference. Now we could teach him about emotions. He started carrying on conversations. He stopped, for the most part, throwing huge fits. It was AMAZING.
The best part was, he still had a lot of energy. He was finally able to run and play and be a KID. He stopped doing things like sitting on the back of the mail truck (as it was driving away). He stopped doing things like biting night light bulbs - because he could actually think things through to the point where he could see the possible results.
It's amazing how this drug has changed our lives. For the better. DISTINCTLY for the better. And not just for my convenience, but for him. He was finally able to LIKE himself. Before, he was always out of control. He hated it. He didn't WANT to be out of control...but he didn't have the choice. Concerta gave him that choice.
I have no doubt that ADHD drugs are used as a way to compensate for bad parenting in way too many cases...and prescribing it to babies? Simply ridiculous.
Oops, that was supposed to be "two", not "to"!!
Ritalin is an addictive substance. Even if people agree with the idea that drugging kids is a good idea, they should be aware of all aspects of using the substance.
Ritalin is a substance which is abused all the time. I wouldn't want my two year old to be learning to depend on substances!
"Research suggests that some GPs are even handing out Ritalin pills to children under a year old."
I would want to see considerably more precise, verifiable information before getting my panties into a twist about this.
My name is Lance Burnet and i would like to show you my personal experience with Ritalin.
I am 56 years old. I have taken Ritalin for 30 years. I have been diagnosed with a mild form of narcolepsy. I use 4 (10 MG ) pills per day. The drug ahs worked wonders and eliminated the drowsiness and sleep attacks. My concern now is the length of time I have been on it. When taking a "drug holiday" it seems like my symptoms are worse.
I have experienced some of these side effects-
rebound effect when dosage wears off.
I hope this information will be useful to others,
Ritalin Side Effects
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