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ADHD Drugs - Who Said What At Last Month's Hearings

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Message Evelyn Pringle
The FDA's Drug Safety & Risk Management Advisory Committee held a two-day meeting last month on February 9th and 10th to review adverse events linked to the widely prescribed ADHD drugs that included reports of sudden death, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes among adults and children taking the medications.

In the US, between 1999 through 2003, the FDA had reports of 24 deaths among patients who took the amphetamine, Adderall, the staff report said. Eleven more deaths were reported among patients using other drugs in the amphetamine class, it noted.

During the same time frame, another 16 deaths were reported in patients who took Ritalin or other drugs known as methylphenidates, the report stated.

Thirty additional deaths of methylphenidate patients were recorded but they were either non-US cases or occurred outside the review period, the FDA said. The agency also excluded cases that appeared linked to intoxication from multiple drugs or other causes.

During the February hearings, the committee heard testimony by representatives from several advocacy groups, as well as medical professionals and other interested parties, basically advocating for or against the use of ADHD drugs with children.

Sue Parry from New Mexico appeared and told the panel that she had traveled to the hearing at her own expense because she was concerned about the safety of the stimulant drugs given to children, some as young as two years old, she noted.

"I have worked as a school-based occupational therapist with students, mostly boys," Ms Parry said, "who supposedly had ADHD."

"I am also the mother of three sons who a decade ago," she said, "like many young boys in America, were at risk of being labeled ADHD."

She advised the panel that parents are not aware of the future harm that may result from an ADHD diagnosis, as eloquently described by Dr. William Carey who states:

"The label may be stigmatizing and harmful in the long term in ways that are only dimly appreciated today. The diagnosis of brain malfunction, which seems so useful and comforting today, may at a later time come back to plague the person. We have not yet had sufficient time to observe fully the possible consequences it may have for education opportunities, employment, the military service or security clearances. Labels stick firmly, especially when they involve neurological disability."

Ms Parry said parents are also not told that the 1998 ADHD Consensus Development Conference statement reads: "However, we do not have an independent, valid test for ADHD, and there are no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction."

"The ADHD epidemic is a disgrace," she told the audience.

"Our nation's children do not need more federal studies," she continued. "What they need is a federal grand jury to investigate what may be the biggest healthcare fraud our nation has ever seen," she advised.

"Is the ADHD epidemic about neurotransmitters and chemical imbalances," she asked the panel, "or is it about increased market share for drug companies?"

"Have our kids simply become funding mechanisms to be screened, labeled and medicated?" she asked.

"Only one government agency," Ms Parry pointed out, "the DEA's Office of Diversion Control, has stood up to this psychopharmaceutical cartel."

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Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for OpEd News and investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government and corporate America.
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