Friday, February 17, 2006
Hyper activity drugs harmful, study shows
February 16th, 2006
Lindsay Pieper, News Assistant
Ritalin linked to heart problems, death in small number of cases
The little white pill that ironically resembles a sugar tablet may not be as safe as those who prescribe it like candy claim.
On Feb. 8, the Food and Drug Administration publicly released a 2004 report that tied the sudden deaths of 25 people and the heart problems of 54 to stimulant drugs like Ritalin. According to the report, children accounted for 19 of the deaths and 26 of the serious heart-related problems.
The report also explained that the deaths and injuries occurred while the people used stimulant drugs like Ritalin from 1999 to 2003.
While the federal report did note stimulant drugs possibly raise blood pressure and heart rates, thus increasing the risks of cardiovascular problems, the definite causes of the deaths and injuries remain uncertain.
“The rare occurrence of pediatric sudden death during stimulant therapy of (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) is an issue that warrants close monitoring,” according to the report.
With these recent findings, the popular use of the drug may cause concern.
In 2004, about 29 million patients received prescriptions for Ritalin, Adderall and similar type drugs to curb attention deficit disorders. According to studies cited in research dealing with drug abuse at the New York University Health Center, four to 36 percent of college students nationwide use Ritalin or Adderall for a study aid.
Natasha, a sophomore and human development major who asked that her last name not be included for privacy reasons, received a prescription for Ritalin from a local psychiatrist in January of her freshman year. Unaccustomed to the college work load and unable to concentrate in class, Natasha sought aid and was quickly diagnosed with ADHD.
“I couldn't focus. I needed help,” Natasha said. The Ritalin curbed her ADHD, but with some side effects.
“I had mood swings, I was depressed, I wasn't hungry, it affected my sleeping. Basically everything they warn you about I got,” she said.
After a few months she switched to Adderall, which, for her, produces the same results without the side effects.
According to Gary Rooker, a psychiatrist in the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine Neuropsychiatry and Behavior Sciences Department, Ritalin has several side effects, the most common being headaches and upset stomach. But, he added that there are other possible effects and “you can't possibly warn for all.”
Members involved with the FDA's Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee disagreed and recently voted to make the possible health effects of Ritalin known.
“The FDA's Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee recently voted 15 to zero to require a medication guide warning patients about cardiovascular and other health risks,” said Karen Mahoney, press contact for the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Trade.
The committee also voted eight to seven with one abstention to include a black box warning to stimulant ADHD drug labeling, the most serious of the FDA's drug-risk warnings.
“I don't know if warnings or labels would stop me from using stimulants,” Natasha said. “I'm only taking them for college, I don't see the big deal.”
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Mad about monitoring
16 February 2006
By JOE BENNETT
Are you afflicted by visions? No, nor am I, but the moment I read about the website where parents could track the performance of their children at school, my head filled with an image I couldn't repress.
The scene is a suburban living room where a 15-year-old boy called Desideratum is leaning over the back of an Italian leather lounge suite from Harvey Norman. He is watching an episode of NZ Idol with transparent boredom, while his father swats at his backside with a rolled-up copy of Empathetic Parenting.
Desideratum: Dad, this is hurting you a lot more than it hurts me.
Dad (pausing for breath): Son, if you're suggesting that I, your very own biological father by in-vitro fertilisation, have been enfeebled by the redistribution of gender roles in the early 21st century, then all I can say is, wait until your mother gets home.
Desideratum (idly flicking the remote control to the 34in plasma television until pausing on a channel dedicated to women's golf. A woman in immaculately-pressed shorts and a pink eye-shade is assessing a putt before a gallery of 10 fat Californians): No, Dad, I was just saying that it doesn't hurt.
Dad: When your mother sees your NCEA progress reports on that website the school has set up in order for nice middle-class parents like us to obsessively monitor the development of our precious only child to whose welfare we have sacrificed 15 years of our lives, and in particular when she sees your performance in Achievement Standard 2.8 in the subject of English, well, I wouldn't want to be in your training shoes, however hi- tech they may be. Meanwhile, perhaps I can get a bit more force into this thrashing by wearing the tails of my shirt outside my trousers in the manner of weather presenters and other icons of contemporary masculinity.
Desideratum: Fair enough, Dad. But while we're waiting for Mum, do you want to watch the golf, or one of the 17 available programmes on renovating a house or ...?
But his question is drowned by the growl of a four-litre sports utility vehicle drawing up in the internal-access garage, and the approaching clack of 10cm heels.
Mum: Darlings, I'm home. What a relief it is every day to discover that you have survived the last eight hours in this hostile world where we live amid all the fruits of consumer luxury and yet somehow feel more scared and rudderless than our remote forefathers did in the jungle and, oh, what's going on here?
Dad: It's Desideratum. I've been tracking.
Desideratum: And that's another thing. Why did you have to give me such as ridiculous name?
Mum: Don't interrupt your father, Desideratum. As for your name, I've told you before that it's the fashion these days to give children unique names. It emphasises that you are the ultimate accessory, available to no other magazine-reading couples in the whole of the Western world. But meanwhile, what's all this about?
Dad: In Achievement Standard 2.8 in the subject of English, Desideratum only achieved the standard, rather than achieving it with excellence. In other words, he structured and organised information in an appropriate written format, but he failed to structure and organise it in an appropriate and effective written format.
Desideratum (to Dad): Snitch.
Mum: I see. So what have you got to say for yourself, you wicked child?
Mum: Nothing? Nothing! Is that all we get for sacrificing 15 ...
Desideratum: Dad's been through all that.
Mum: Silence! Do you ever consider what we've gone through for you. We ignored the risk of childish damage to our Italian leather lounge suite from Harvey Norman. We smothered you with affection, catered to your every whim, half drowned you in toys, chauffeured you from macrame class to trumpet lesson to jujitsu competition so that you never had to walk anywhere, and provided you from the age of five with a full-time emotional counsellor and life coach with unrestricted access to Ritalin, Prozac and other faddish drugs. How many other children have had your advantages?
Desideratum: Most of them in my school.
Mum (ignoring him): And yet this is how you thank us, is it? You callously fail to pay attention to the word "effective" in the rubric for an NCEA achievement standard.
Desideratum: But, Mum, the word "effective" doesn't mean anything. It's claptrap, Mum. It gives the illusion of objectivity, but in reality it remains subjective. NCEA progress reports are not reports of progress. They're sops to the vogue for assessment, the obsessive need to measure. They represent, ultimately, a distrust of both teacher and taught. And as for the website, Mum, it represents the same fundamental fear and distrust. Kids need space, Mum. In the end they have to escape the parental yoke.
Mum (roaring): Enough. Go to your room at once. (Dad obediently trots off. Mother and son are left facing each other over the Italian leather lounge suite from Harvey Norman. Mum unbuckles her Italian leather belt from Zambesi. It's a chunky thing.) Desideratum, my darling, this is going to hurt us both.
From the Magazine | Notebook
Getting Hyper About Ritalin
By CLAUDIA WALLIS
SUBSCRIBE TO TIMEPRINTE-MAILMORE BY AUTHOR
Posted Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006
An FDA advisory panel last week recommended adding the agency's strongest possible safety warning for Ritalin and other popular attention-deficit drugs. Here's what's behind the buzz:
Is the proposal based on new data? No. The panel had been tasked with suggesting studies to explore the cardiovascular effects of these drugs. The idea of adding a "black box" warning came as a surprise.
Do these drugs pose a risk to the heart? Maybe. Ritalin and its cousins Concerta and Adderall are stimulants that can raise heart rate and blood pressure. The FDA knows of 25 cases of people--19 of them children--dying suddenly while on the drugs and dozens of cases of stroke and arrhythmias, but cause and effect are far from certain. Those are small numbers given that 2.5 million kids and 1.5 million adults in the U.S. take the drugs, but some panel members think many cases may go unreported. Cardiologist Steven Nissen, who proposed the warning, is worried about adults on the drugs, 10% of whom are over 50 and may have other risk factors for heart trouble.
Is the warning warranted? Not at this point, says Dr. Thomas Laughren of the FDA. But the agency will review the risk labels on the drugs and probably launch a formal study of cardiovascular dangers. Over-prescription is another big concern. Nissen notes that 10% of 10-year-old boys are being treated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
What should patients and their parents do now? Talk to their doctor, especially if the patient has a heart problem or a family history of cardiac trouble.
ALL MEN ARE LIKE GRASS, AND THEIR GLORY IS LIKE
THE FLOWERS OF THE FIELD; THE GRASS WITHERS
AND THE FLOWERS FALL, BUT THE WORD OF THE
LORD STANDS FOREVER.
( 1 PETER 1:25 *NIV )
Now I will bet that from time to time, you have heard from
someone who claims that the Bible is fiction. For some fail to
see that; ALL SCRIPTURE IS GIVEN BY INSPIRATION OF
GOD, AND IS PROFITABLE FOR DOCTRINE, FOR
REPROOF, FOR CORRECTION, FOR INSTRUCTION IN
RIGHTEOUSNESS. ( 2 TIMOTHY 3:16 )
ABOVE ALL YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THAT NO
PROPHECY OF SCRIPTURE CAME ABOUT BY THE
PROPHET'S OWN INTERPRETATION, FOR PROPHECY
NEVER CAME BY THE WILL OF MAN, BUT HOLY MEN
OF GOD SPOKE AS THEY WERE MOVED BY THE
HOLY SPIRIT. ( 2 PETER 1:20-21 )
After all God worked through 40 different men, who lived
on three different Continents, from every walk of life, who lived
over a Sixteen Hundred year period to write His Letter To Us.
( The Holy Bible ) The result is the Bible was still created
containing not one single contradiction, and a vast number of
Prophecies, all of which have now been fulfilled, except
those that speak of the End Times.
So Charles, the next time someone, who undoubtedly
hasn't even bothered to read the Bible, tells you that the
Bible is full of fiction, and fairy tails, ask them to Prove It.
After all we know that; EVERY WORD OF GOD IS PURE;
HE IS A SHIELD TO THOSE WHO PUT THEIR TRUST IN
HIM. ( PROVERBS 30:5 ) FOR THE WORD OF GOD IS
LIVING AND POWERFUL, AND SHARPER THAN ANY
TWO-EDGED SWORD. ( HEBREWS 4:12 )
Therefore we are bold to say; "YOUR WORD IS A LAMP
TO MY FEET AND A LIGHT TO MY PATH! O Lord!"
Amen, Amen! ( PSALM 119:105 )
Have a Blessed Weekend, Charles!
With My Love & Prayers,
your servant Allen
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