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Increase in prescriptions for ADHD treatment drugs

By Tim Sandle     Aug 18, 2013 in Health
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug treatment prescriptions are up 50 per cent in the UK compared to 2007, new data released by the Care Quality Commission indicates.
The rise in drug prescriptions for ADHD in the U.K. has been 420,000 (in 2007) to 657,000 prescriptions in 2012. ADHD is a neurological condition where there are significant problems of attention and/or hyperactivity and acting impulsively that are not appropriate for a person's age. The condition, which is associated with children although it can continue into adulthood, is treated by a range of drugs including Ritalin (or methylphenidate). Ritalin is known as a psychostimulant.
The rise in prescriptions has caused concern for the government watchdog. Consequently, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) wants health workers to exercise caution when prescribing medication and to be vigilant for signs of ADHD drug abuse.
A key concern raised in connection with the ADHD treatment prescriptions rise is that, beyond the drug being used by those that genuinely need them, ADHD treatments are becoming more popular among students who do not necessarily have ADHD. Some students think that they can benefit from the increased levels of focus that the drugs might supply.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the CQC report states: "We are also aware of the possibility that methylphenidate could be diverted and abused, and for this reason we recommend that its use should be monitored carefully. We are aware of reports in the media and scientific literature that it is being abused as a 'smart' drug to improve cognitive function; the long-term risks of this practice are not known.
This is an issue not only in the U.K., as Digital Journal reported earlier that one in 10 teenagers in the U.S. are using "study drugs" (stimulant medicines). Worryingly, many of these drugs are not designed or approved for keeping someone alert or even awake.
More about Ahdh, Prescription drugs, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Ritalin
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