A new study may throw a big wet blanket over the market for ADHD drugs. According to the BBC, which obtained data from an unfinished, long-term study, meds aren't an effective way to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. After three years of drug treatment, patients did no better than those who simply got talk therapy. And the drugs may have stunted some children's growth.
Ironically, this study is the very same one that started the ADHD drug craze back in 1999. The Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD concluded after a year of data-gathering that the drugs worked better than behavioral therapy. But now that the research has been ongoing for years, the original study's co-author says, "I think that we exaggerated the beneficial impact of medication...There's no indication that medication's better in the long run."
The research will be broadcast on the BBC tonight. Its release comes at a time when Britain's National Institute for Clinical Excellence--the panel that decides which meds the National Health Service will pay for--is reviewing treatment guidelines for ADHD. NICE is expected to make new recommendations next year. Meanwhile, the FDA and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality just launched a study of data on 500,000 children to see whether meds used to treat ADHD increase risk of heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular problems.
- see this release on the planned ADHD study
- check out the BBC report