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Drugs should be preferred first-choice treatment for ADHD

Published on 08/08/18 at 09:51am

Ritalin and other amphetamines should be the preferred first-choice medications for the short-term treatment of ADHD, according to a study published in the Lancet Psychiatry Journal.

The review of ADHD drugs found that all of the medications studied (apart from modafinil in adults) were more efficacious than placebo. The authors of the study argued that methylphenidate, sold under the brand name Ritalin, is the most effective and best tolerated treatment for ADHD in children, while amphetamines were more effective in adults.

The study, which analysed data from 24,000 patients, 14,000 of whom were children, suggests that prescribing habits should change. The authors of the study noted that misconceptions regarding the safety and efficacy of ADHD medications mean that they are often under prescribed.   

David Coghill, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, said: “I think we have quite strong evidence to suggest that — in the UK and many countries outside the US — ADHD is under-recognised and underdiagnosed and if you don’t recognise and diagnose someone you don’t have the option of what treatment they receive.”

He added that “We now have very clear evidence that the brains of children with ADHD are structurally and functionally very different. That results in a wide range of cognitive difficulties, of impulse control, keeping attention. The medication treatments are very effective at improving those functional deficits as well as reducing the core symptoms.”

Louis Goss

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