Monday, July 07, 2008

Children's suicide attempts raise concerns about ADHD medication

From the Globe and Mail:
New questions are being raised about the safety of a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder amid reports that more than 40 Canadian children have attempted suicide after taking it.

The issue highlights a long-brewing debate over the decision to prescribe powerful drugs to treat complex psychiatric problems among children.

"It does raise some concerns," said Roger McIntyre, head of the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit at Toronto's University Health Network.

"Childhood psychiatric disorders, I think, are an area [that] in and of itself remain a controversial topic."

Health Canada said it received 189 reports of adverse reactions associated with atomoxetine, sold under the name Strattera, from the time it was put on the market in February, 2005, to the end of last year.

The reports included 55 suicide attempts - 41 of which were among children aged 6 to 17, and 12 that were adults between 18 and 45. Ages were unavailable in two reports, according to information published by Health Canada in its quarterly publication on adverse drug reactions. ...more

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