Fears for children on ADHD drug (Aust)

AdelaideNow.com.au October 13, 2009

CHILDREN as young as five have attempted suicide or are severely depressed while on drugs to treat ADHD. The Advertiserhas obtained reports from the Therapeutic Goods Administration showing at least 30 children have had severe psychotic episodes and wanted to kill themselves. One boy, 7, became so depressed last year while on Ritalin he tried to commit suicide. Serious reactions to ADHD drugs have doubled in three years, up to 827. But the true extent of the side effects is unknown, with many doctors and parents under-reporting.

Use of heavy stimulants has been questioned by child experts who believe the drugs, including the failed adult anti-depressant Strattera, could be masking the true psychological problems of children. It is also difficult to know if the drugs made a child suicidal or if the tendencies already existed, said Dr Jon Juriedini, head of psychological medicine at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.