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Canada warns ADHD drug takers over "psychiatric events"

Monday, September 25, 2006 by: Ben Kage
Tags: ADHD, bad medicine, ADHD drugs

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(NewsTarget) In the wake of two dozen reported cases of mood, personality and psychological reactions that may be linked to ADHD drugs -- including agitation, hallucinations and three suicides -- Health Canada is revising it's prescribing and patient information for all such drugs in the country, considering adding "potential for psychiatric adverse events" to the warning labels.

Up to 5 percent of Canadian children are thought to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a neurobiological condition diagnosed when children (and some adults) show signs of impulsive behavior, inability to focus, hyperactivity, and trouble with social interaction. Statistics show that more than 2 million prescriptions for ADHD drugs were written in Canada last year.

The review of the drugs and labeling should be completed by December, according to Health Canada spokesperson Paul Duchesne on Thursday.

"Canadians taking ADHD medication should consult with their doctor if they have any questions or concerns," he said, adding that patients should never discontinue their ADHD medication without consulting their doctor first.

Many in the field of psychology and child psychology have risen to defend the ADHD medications. Dr. Umesh Jain, head of the Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance, said a message of caution and prudence is nothing new.

"When medications are diverted and abused, they are potentially at risk for developing hallucinations, delusional beliefs, et cetera," added Jain, who works at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health and Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. Jain also noted that the new ADHD medications are long-lasting, once-a-day medications that have "low diversion potential."

"If you were somebody who was going to use an excess amount, well beyond that of the range of the ADHD profile, yeah, they can potentially cause those problems," Jain said, adding that Health Canada's caution in alerting the population about all potential risks is partly because the medications are so widely used, but feared it may cause some patients and parents to worry needlessly.

However, since this is the second revision to ADHD drugs patient information this year -- the first in May warning about the heart-related risks associated with ADHD drugs -- critics of the medicines feel these revisions should be the first step in banning them.

"ADHD drugs are psychotropic substances that pose real dangers to the mental health of both children and adults," said Mike Adams, a natural health author and critic of the overmedication of children. "Even worse, the drugs are routinely prescribed for a so-called disease that is entirely fictitious. It was invented, promoted and sold to the public as a problem needing a chemical solution that just happened to be offered by powerful drug companies."


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