ADHD Drug Warnings Come Too Late For Many

Excerpted from an article in and written by Evelyn Pringle in March 2007:

"An FDA report titled, "Adverse Events Associated with Drug Treatment of ADHD: Review of Postmarketing Safety Data," by Kate Gelperin and Kate Phelan, was presented at the March 22, 2006, Pediatric Advisory Committee meeting and stated in part:

'The most important finding of this review is that signs and symptoms of psychosis or mania, particularly hallucinations, can occur in some patients with no identifiable risk factors, at usual doses of any of the drugs currently used to treat ADHD.'

"Between January 2000, and June 30, 2005, the FDA identified nearly 1,000 cases of psychosis or mania linked to the drugs in its own database and those from the drug makers themselves. A substantial proportion of the cases occurred in children age ten years or less, a population in which hallucinations are not common, the authors said.

'The occurrence of such symptoms in young children,' they wrote, 'may be particularly traumatic and undesirable, both to the child and the parents.'

'The predominance in young children of hallucinations, both visual and tactile,' it stated, 'involving insects, snakes and worms is striking, and deserves further evaluation.'

"But the fact that these drugs cause psychosis is not news. The rate of psychotic events was reported in a 5-year Canadian study of children diagnosed with ADHD, by Cherland and Fitzpatrick in 1999. Among the 192 children studied, 98 had been placed on stimulant drugs, mostly methylphenidate, and psychotic symptoms developed in more than 9% of the children and ceased as soon as the medication was stopped.

"According to psychiatrist, Dr Stefan Kruszewski, 'Children who are medicated early,' he says, "do not learn to develop coping strategies that work as they move through different developmental stages.'

'Instead,' he says, 'they learn to rely on drugs to solve problems, rather than their creative potential to solve problems on their own or with the help of family, friends, schooling, music and the arts, church, social outings, recreation and sports.'

"A study in the February 2006, Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, examined data from a 2002 survey of about 67,000 households, and reported that more than 7 million Americans have misused ADHD stimulant drugs, and 'substantial numbers of teenagers and young adults appear to show signs of addiction, according to a comprehensive national analysis tracking such abuse.'

"The researchers found that in one 12-month period, about 1.6 million teens and young adults had misused the drugs and that 75,000 showed signs of addiction.

"So when the FDA reported that the agency had received hundreds of reports of aggressive behavior in children taking ADHD drugs, and up to 20% resulted in a significant injury or hospitalization, this was not news either. Experts say to expect more of the same as the prescriptions for these drugs continue to multiply. At the advisory meeting, Dr. Gelperin noted the expansion of the customer base stating: 'Drug treatment of ADHD is increasing in all age groups ... and also drug treatment for ADHD can now potentially be life-long.'

"It is hard to imagine how sales could go higher. In 2005, according to Research and Markets, the value of the ADHD market was $2.6 billion and is now the 9th largest segment of the CNS market by sales with growth of 8% year-on-year.

"Attorney, Barry Turner, a lecturer in law and medical ethics at Leeds Law School in the UK, warns about of dangers of "pathologising" children's behavior. He says psychiatric drugs have a disinhibitory effect on children and those who grow up disinhibited become psychopathic.

'Psychopaths,' he explains, 'are unable to benefit from guilt, fear or empathy and pray on victims without inhibition.. ADHD drugs are creating a generation of psychopaths,' he warns, 'not because it is real, but because children are being brainwashed into believing they are sick.' By disrupting the brain development of small children, he explains, drug makers are manufacturing a small army of 'artificial psychopaths.'

'Allen Jones, speaking on behalf of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, told the advisors that the FDA should instruct the pharmaceutical industry to advise the FDA of all adverse events that have been reported on the drugs immediately, and demand that all clinical trials be turned over so that independent researchers can review them. 'We don't have the luxury of time to wait for the future trials,' he said, 'children are dying.'

"Having lost her son to the side effects of Zyprexa before a warning was added to its label, Ellen Liversridge, testified on behalf of parents who lost children. 'I grieve particularly today,' she said, 'for the 51 dead of ADHD drugs that were announced by the FDA. I guess my up-front message, front and center,' she told the panel, 'is that you know that these drugs can cause serious side effects and death, including sudden death, hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, and possibly bipolar disorder. This being the case,' she stated, 'I urge you to recommend that these drugs have an appropriate black box warning placed on the label starting immediately.'

"The number of ADHD related deaths cited at the hearing does not reflect an accurate picture. There are many more deaths recorded in the individual states. For instance, according to the report, "Child Suicides in Florida Associated with Use of Psychotropic Drugs," by Ken Kramer, of the 252 cases of suicide in children under 18, between 2000 and 2004, thirty-six were on ADHD drugs.

"Because the FDA system of reporting is voluntary, the agency admits that only between one and 10% of adverse reactions get recorded. Which means, because the FDA and Big Pharma intentionally delayed warning the public about the dangers of ADHD drugs, there are probably tens of thousands of ADHD victims who do not even know what happened."