09 September 2012

Safety fears over ADHD drug

AN attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug, rejected for a government subsidy because of "uncertain safety" in adults, is being subsidised for children and was used by more than 19,000 kids in the past year.
A subsidy for the medicine Concerta, a long-acting form of Ritalin, was recently knocked back for adults by the government's expert Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) "on the basis of uncertain efficacy and safety in the proposed PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) population".
The PBAC was concerned about the "highly uncertain cost to the PBS" if it subsidised the drug, with experts speculating this could be because it could potentially be diverted for illegal use.
Anti-ADHD drug campaigner MP Martin Whitely, says it is a "seemingly absurd inconsistency that the medicine is not considered safe enough for adults but is considered safe for children".
"If it isn't proved to be safe enough for adults there is no way it should be given to children," he said.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Ageing said the Therapeutic Goods Administration had assessed Concerta as "safe and effective for adults. However, in making its recommendation I can confirm that the PBAC took into account the cost effectiveness of the drug in comparison with alternative therapies for adults," the spokeswoman said.
The electronic Medicine Compendium website, which provides information from the drug company Janssen-Cilag the manufacturer of Concerta warns: "Long-term use of methylphenidate has not been systematically evaluated in controlled trials."
The drug has been linked to a (10mmHg) rise in blood pressure in children, sudden death in those with cardiac abnormalities, can potentially make aggression worse, cause the onset of tics and reduced weight gain and growth retardation.
An eight-year West Australian study on the use of psychostimulants in children found they increased the probability of a child medicated for ADHD falling behind at school by 950 per cent.
Child psychiatrist Jon Jureidini, who heads the department of Psychological Medicine at Flinders University, says he thinks the drug is prescribed for too many children and given there is a rare chance it could kill children with heart problems it should be used "very rarely".
Janssen-Cilag told the PBAC the medication was already subsidised on the PBS for adults who were diagnosed with ADHD before they turned 18.

dailytelegraph.com.au 9 Sep 2012

Another policy to experiment on the children of the canon fodder.

A 'disease' manufactured by the 'authorities' to control the masses.

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