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Stimulants are Safe to Treat Children with ADHD

Stimulants are Safe to Treat Children with ADHD

(ePharmaNews) - ADHD (Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder) is one of the most common disturbing developmental diseases that affect children, and despite the availability of medications to treat this condition, there has been a lot of concern about the long-term use of these medications, concern that has shown to be excessive according to new studies.

Published this week in Neuropsychopharmacology, two new studies provide important support for the safety of stimulants as treatments of ADHD symptoms in children and adolescents.

ADHD is a behavioral disorder that can be effectively treated with stimulants like methylphenidate or amphetamine. Because of the pathological changes that are reported to occur in the brains of those abusing stimulants, concerns have been raised about the long-term effects of stimulant treatment during childhood and adolescence, when the brain is developing.

In one study, Linda Porrino and colleagues from Wake Forest School of Medicine looked at 16 adolescent rhesus monkeys that were treated daily with either methylphenidate or a control pill. After a year of treatment and a three to five month period with no treatment pills, their weight, growth, and dopamine receptors were unaffected.

"We know that the drugs used to treat ADHD are very effective, but there have always been concerns about the long-lasting effects of these drugs," Porrino said.

"We didn't know whether taking these drugs over a long period could harm brain development in some way or possibly lead to abuse of drugs later in adolescence."

There was also no difference in their predisposition to cocaine addiction, as compared to the control group.

Dr.Porrino also mentioned the sister study published in the same journal, led by Nancy Ator and colleagues from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who monitored the effects of twice-daily oral treatments with either methylphenidate, amphetamine or control solution on groups of eight peri-adolescent rhesus monkeys over of 18 months of treatment and six months after treatment ended. They found no consistent differences in cognition, physiological development, general activity, or neurochemistry among the groups treated with a stimulant and the control group, adding to the evidence supporting the safety of such drugs for children.

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Edited By: Laila Nour

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