On June 15th, Good Morning America aired a piece regarding possible dangers associated with many of the drugs used in connection with ADHD. “ADHD Drugs Linked to Sudden Death” (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/story?id=7829005&page=1) reports about a study that has found a link between children taking stimulant medication and sudden unexplained death.
Specifically, the piece notes:
"In the study of 564 children and teens who died suddenly, researchers led by Madelyn Gould of the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University in New York City found that that those who died suddenly were 7.4 times more likely than not to have been taking the stimulant medications. The results of the study are reported online in The American Journal of Psychiatry."
This piece appears, in stark contrast, to a news report on ABC News that aired just about one year ago (June 13, 2008 to be exact (http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=5015268)) that reported on the American Heart Association's recommendation that all children be screened for potential heart problems prior to the administration of these drugs, and the American Academy of Pediatrics' (“AAP”) disagreement with such a suggestion and denial of any possible link between these drugs and heart problems. In what I can only deem a pro-medication report, the anchor person states that the AAP is fearful that any such required screening might pose a “A barrier to [children] getting on these important medications.” (emphasis mine).
This was followed by a discussion with a doctor who stated that while, on the one hand, she always takes a full history prior to administration of these drugs, such testing is not always necessary.
Are you kidding? Once again, the ridiculousness of the medical world staggers the mind. Chances are, you're not going to get into a car accident when you drive. However, we all put on seat belts. Why? Just in case.
These are our children. If there any possibility that there is some connection between these drugs and death (and now we know there is – correction, now it has been confirmed that there is), why wouldn't you run a few tests first?
Why? Because the anchor hit it right on the nose. You might be justifiably scared of these drugs, decide not to give them to your kids, and then the how would the pharmaceutical companies survive?
Unfortunately, none of this should come as a surprise. Problems, side-effects and dangers associated with these medications is nothing new. See my February 7, 2009 Post.
Please, remember, there are alternatives.
Use of these medications should only be an absolute last resort.