While scientists clash over the dangers of ADHD drugs, the U.S. government does nothing to protect children

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 by: Jessica Fraser
Tags: ADHD drugs, drug side effects, overmedication

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
Since the Vioxx scandal broke in late 2004, most Americans are all too familiar with the idea that prescription drugs can be dangerous and even deadly. But how would America react if it were to discover that a class of drugs being primarily prescribed to children was also dangerous and sometimes deadly?

According to a May 2006 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, side effects and "problems" with widely prescribed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) drugs send 3,100 people to the ER every year -- 80 percent of them children.

"Problems" most often include overdosing or accidental use, and side effects can include chest pain, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, stroke and sudden death. Between 1999 and 2003, 25 deaths linked to ADHD drugs were reported to the FDA, 19 involving children. In addition, 54 cases of other serious heart problems were reported, including strokes and heart attacks.

Considering that roughly 3.3 million Americans who are 19 or younger, and 1.5 million who are 20 and older, are currently taking ADHD drugs -- with those numbers constantly rising -- it is safe to assume that the number of ADHD-drug-related hospitalizations will also continue to increase. Given these revelations about the risky nature of ADHD drugs, one might wonder what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is doing to warn consumers of these popular stimulants.

In February 2006, an FDA advisory panel voted 8-7 in favor of including its most serious "black box" warning on ADHD drugs, but the very next month, a different FDA panel instead voted to put information on cardiac and other risks in a new, special "highlights" section of prescription drug inserts.

Dr. Steven Nissen, chief of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, criticized the FDA's decision in the April 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine: "I believe that the appearance of information in the 'highlights' section of the drug label will have virtually no effect on prescribing practices." Think back to the last time you picked up a prescription from the pharmacy. Did you look at the information pamphlet inside the bag, or did you go straight for the pill bottle, assuming that your prescription was safe?

In a letter appearing in the same NEJM issue, the heads of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association -- Dr. Thomas Anders and Dr. Steven Sharfstein -- contradicted Nissen's argument that a "black box" warning on ADHD drugs was necessary for patient safety: "We agree that patient safety is paramount and that the long-term benefits and risks of stimulant treatment are not known definitively, yet we are concerned that such a warning will discourage patients and their families from using effective treatment."

In his rebuttal in the April 6 issue, Nissen replies, "I strongly disagree. I cannot accept the paternalistic notion that patients and caregivers are better off without information about drug risks. The presence of a black-box warning and a mandatory patient guide would probably stimulate useful discussions among patients, parents, and physicians about risks. An appropriate warning might also slow the exponential growth in the use of amphetamines and similar stimulants, which has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, resulting in the treatment of nearly 10 percent of preadolescent boys."

The "exponential growth" Nissen refers to has garnered national attention in recent years, and has left many wondering what brought it about. Was there a sudden outbreak of ADHD in the past decade? Was there something in the water causing children to suddenly fall victim to this behavioral disorder? In September 2000, PBS Frontline ran a special called "The Ritalin Explosion," during which the show interviewed child psychologist Harvey Parker, co-founder of the non-profit organization Children and Adults with ADD (CHADD). Frontline asked Parker what had changed among the general public to bring about the rise in ADHD diagnoses and prescriptions for medical treatment.

Parker replied that "several things" caused the increase in ADHD drug prescriptions, including more parents having their kids examined, and doctors understanding that "medication was an appropriate treatment for ADHD, not a last-resort treatment, but in some cases, a first-resort treatment." Parker continued, "We realized that kids with ADHD don't have to stop taking medication when they become adolescents. We used to think that stimulant medication would stunt growth. We realize that that doesn't happen. So we continued prescribing medications to these children through adolescence."

ADHD "experts" are ignoring evidence of dangerous drug side effects and defending increasing prescription rates

Apparently, medicating kids from childhood through adolescence wasn't quite enough, though. "We also realized that children could take medication more than once a day. They can take it in the morning, in the afternoon and evening, and even late in the afternoon when they come home from school. ... So all these factors combined to cause a rise in the prescription rates of medication today," Parker said.

Note the lack of any indication that the higher prescription rate is a bad thing. Also note that a recent review of previous studies on whether or not ADHD drugs stunt growth concluded that the stimulants do, in fact, stunt growth, by an average of three-quarters of an inch and about 2 pounds of body weight for 10-year-old boys.

Essentially, kids are being massively over-prescribed ADHD drugs that come with possibly deadly side effects, and the government is doing little to nothing to warn parents of those dangers. However, it seems that yet again, it's the U.S. government that is dragging its feet to protect consumers -- and in this case, millions of children -- from dangerous medications.

In late May 2006, Health Canada issued warnings of heart risks -- including sudden death -- on all drugs used to treat ADHD. "The effects are usually mild or moderate, but in some patients, this stimulation may -- in rare cases -- result in cardiac arrests, strokes or sudden death," the agency warned. Health Canada issued the warning even though no deaths caused by ADHD drugs have been reported in Canada.

The FDA is being sluggish to issue warnings on the newest risks ADHD drugs pose to users, the majority of which are children. It forms committees such as the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory committee, which convened in February 2006, and the Pediatric Advisory Committee, which convened in March 2006 and was attended by FDA epidemiologists and physicians, as well as two representatives from Big Pharma, to discuss if and how patients should be warned about the dangers of ADHD drugs. Notably, both committees did not find the need for a black-box warning "warranted."

One might wonder why Canada -- which has suffered zero deaths because of ADHD drugs (thus far) -- found the need for a warning "warranted" and acted quickly to issue it, while the United States, which has suffered 25 deaths (19 involving children) because of ADHD drugs, has effectively done nothing to warn its citizens of the dangers of such medications.

While the United States has a few lobbyists on the side of public health arguing for strong warnings and patient education on ADHD drugs, it seems no one has considered the third alternative: That ADHD can be prevented, rather than treated.

In an August 2004 News Target article, Mike Adams writes that ADHD is caused by harmful food additives such as the chemicals used in food coloring, as well as refined carbohydrates like white flour and the high fructose corn syrup found in soft drinks. Adams says the so-called "disease" is merely a result of children (and adults) consuming these toxic food ingredients, which eventually poison the brain and affect behavior, leading to a misdiagnosis of "ADHD."

"When you eat processed foods containing additives and artificial colors, you are introducing toxic chemicals into your bloodstream," Adams' article states. "Those chemicals find their way into the brain and alter brain function, and in the case of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD, it alters their behavior to make them restless or to have a shortened attention span. It can also cause children and adults alike to display other problems derived from their mental state."

The remedy? It's simple, according to Adams: "If you feed your children foods that enhance their health -- that is, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and superfoods -- then they won't exhibit these behavioral problems."

The sad truth is that many Americans will never subscribe to the idea that ADHD can be prevented or reversed through dietary changes. They would rather go to their doctor or psychiatrist and get a prescription for a little bottle of pills that will ostensibly "cure" their or their child's behavioral problems. It is on behalf of these people, as well as the people who never hear about the simple dietary solutions for ADHD, that the FDA and all its "advisory committees" must stand up for the public good and -- at the very least -- issue strong warnings with these drugs to warn patients that the stimulants their doctor prescribes them or their children may come with side effects ranging from stunted growth and skin irritations to strokes, heart attacks and sudden death.


Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.

Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...


Now Available at

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...


Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...


Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at

Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.