Stimulants seen safe for children with ADHD

March 1st, 2008 - 4:19 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, March 1 (IANS) Is it unwise to use stimulant drugs to treat children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)? Will it in any way lead to future risk of substance abuse? The answers to these questions, according to a new study, are no.
The study, by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, concludes that the use of stimulant drugs to treat children with ADHD has no effect on their future risk of substance abuse.

The study assessed over 100 young men 10 years after they had been diagnosed with ADHD, in the most rigorous analysis of any potential relationship between stimulant treatment and drug abuse.

“Because stimulants are controlled drugs, there has been a concern that using them to treat children would promote future drug-seeking behaviour,” said co-author Joseph Biederman.

“But our study found no evidence that prior treatment with stimulants was associated with increased or decreased risk for subsequent drug or alcohol abuse.”

Earlier studies examining whether stimulant treatment could increase substance abuse risk have had conflicting results, but they had several limitations, the authors noted.

Some only looked at adolescents, although young adults are at the highest risk of substance abuse.

Of the 112 participants, aged between 16 and 27 at the time of reassessment, 73 percent had been treated with stimulants at some time, and 22 percent were currently receiving stimulant treatment.

“Our current results, combined with other investigations, should help reduce the concerns that clinicians and parents may have about the use of stimulants to treat ADHD in children,” said Biederman.

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