CHILDREN with ADHD who use prescription drugs to manage their condition are 10 times more likely to perform poorly at school than ADHD kids who avoid medication, a new report reveals.
The report also finds stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and dexamphetamine make no significant difference to the level of depression, self-perception and social functioning of a 14-year-old with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Those consistently using medication had significantly higher blood pressure at age 14 than children who had never taken drugs, a side-effect that could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke even into adulthood.
The report’s co-author, Lou Landau, said the world-first study into the long-term effects of stimulant medication on children with ADHD, to be published today, showed “drugs over the long term don’t have an impact on improving performance”.
“They don’t improve outcomes for those with ADHD, they make no difference to levels of depression, social functioning and self-perception, and for those on medication it is 10 times as likely that classroom performance will be below average,” he said.
Professor Landau, principal medical adviser to the West Australian Department of Health, which funded the research, said that was not to say drugs should never be used to treat ADHD. “There may be some children for whom the need to manage the condition in the short term will outweigh the long-term effects.”
The report is groundbreaking because it uses data from the Raine Study, which has been tracking the progress of more than 2800 families for two decades. Parents of the 131 children diagnosed with ADHD under the study have been providing information since the children were born. The outcomes were measured when the children were 14 years old. …
The kids already know this. They hate taking these meds. They’ve been trying to tell adults this for 20 years. Teachers love the stuff, however, because it makes kids more “manageable”. Poor performance from a depressed non-troublemaker is better, from the teacher’s point of view, than good performance from someone disrupting the classroom.