New Guide Offers Free Medical Advice on Kids with ADHD

Parents of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been understandably nervous about using medications like Adderall or Ritalin to treat the disorder following reports about side effects ranging from heart failure to psychiatric problems. Health Notes Archives - Click Here

Now two prominent psychiatry associations have teamed up to release a free guide for parents on treating ADHD in their children. The ADHD Parents Medication Guide details the symptoms, treatment options, medications, side effects and other information about the disorder. It was developed by the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and parents can download it from The site also offers a medication guide to treating depression in children.

ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder that causes excessive restlessness, inattention, distractedness and impulsiveness. Researchers believe it affects between 3 percent and 7 percent of school-age kids and about 4 percent of adults. Left untreated, ADHD has been shown to increase the risk of academic failure, social and criminal behavior problems, substance abuse, depression and relationship difficulties.

In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered manufacturers to put "black box" labels on several ADHD medications, warning of potentially serious side effects after reviewing reports about cardiovascular or psychiatric problems that occurred in patients taking the drugs. Among the medications that now carry warning labels are specific forms of Adderall, Concerta, Daytrana, Desoxyn, Dexedrine, Focalin, Metadate CD, Methylin, Ritalin and Strattera.

The new ADHD medication guide emphasizes that while the FDA found these medications to be generally safe and beneficial, children taking the drugs could suffer serious side effects and should be closely monitored.

- Deirdre Wilson

Posted October 2007.

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