Ritlin warnings

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by rejectedmom, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I suscribe to a doctor's newsletter ( you can PM me for his name if you are intrested as I do not think we are allowed to post that info) and found this in my mailbox today.
    I had my son on Ritlin for a couple of years and never was I told that he was at risk of severe complications. I tryed the phyconochol and fish oil but he would not take them and I finally gave up. Had I know about these risks I think I would have persisted with the natural remedies longer.

    Anyway I just thought I would share this newsletter :
    October 15, 2009

    A new study reveals that healthy kids who take Ritalin have a whopping 500 percent greater risk of sudden death. These aren't kids with pre-existing heart conditions. The results would have been worse if they were included.

    Her's proof that what you've been told for decades; that Ritalin is safe for kids; couldn't be further from the truth.

    Ritalin is a stimulant. It causes the heart to beat faster. And that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. Ritalin acts exactly like amphetamines such as crystal meth and cocaine.

    In spite of evidence that it could stunt their growth1, and cause irreversible brain damage2 and that it is linked to serious cardiovascular events, the FDA remains silent.

    Still, the FDA refuses to take action. No new warnings are planned and prescriptions for Ritalin continue to spiral upward.

    Objections to the FDA's sluggishness are even starting to appear in conservative medical journals like JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
    JAMA notes that the FDA funded and approved the design of the study. Only when the results came out did they have a problem with the design of the study. I guess the FDA didn't like the results their own design produced.

    This is the big point for all of us: Doctors hand out Ritalin prescriptions every day. And too often you aren't told of the dangers.

    ADHD is still the most commonly diagnosed disorder in children.

    What's more, studies show that the drugs don't work. The same study that found Ritalin stunts kids; growth also found that it has no beneficial effect on behavior over a three-year period.

    So what do you do for children who have trouble concentrating, focusing, or calming down? Here are a few easy, safe, and natural ways to bring kids;to attention; without endangering their mental and physical health.

    1. Ramp up the amount of omega-3 in their diet. Studies show that many children with ADHD don't get enough omega-3. Cod liver oil and fish-oil capsules deliver the two kinds of omega-3s the body needs.

    You can also get them to eat more lean meats, eggs, and nuts, preferably free-range, grass-fed and organic. These are all great sources of omega-3. I recommend 1,000 mg of omega-3s daily.

    2. Pine bark extract is another natural supplement that works. One European study using pycnogenol, an organic compound found in the bark of the French maritime pine tree, showed that after only one month, children's behavior improved significantly on as little as 1 mg per day.3

    3. Finally, certain naturally occurring amino acids can treat ADHD.
    One of them is 5-HTP. It's a precursor to serotonin, one of the chemicals in the brain that relieves anxiety and depression (popular antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro all boost serotonin levels). I recommend 50 to 100 mg three times per day with meals.

    Another is tyrosine. It works like 5-HTP, increasing levels of various chemicals in the brain connected to mood and the ability to concentrate. The optimal dose is 5,000 mg per day for children and up to 10,000 mg per day for adults.

    These are natural and safe alternatives that I use in my medical practice every day. They aren't harmful or addictive, and unlike all those ADHD drugs, they actually work. They are easy to find at health food stores.

    To Your Good Health
  2. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I don't see any actual cites from independently run and correctly performed studies. All I see here is one doctor's personal opinions and that pins the needle in the red on my BS meter.

    by the way, the fact that Ritalin is a form of 'speed' is not new news. The fact that many children correctly diagnosed with ADHD (notice that I say CORRECTLY DIAGNOSED) do benefit from carefully monitored dosing of stimulant medications.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    My own son took Concerta (long-acting methylphenidate or Ritalin) from spring 2003 to fall 2005. He had an EKG during that time, and his growth was monitored because he was at the 5th percentile for height prior to starting to treatment.

    I am not an apologist for the FDA or the drug companies, but this is the warning information taken from www.rxlist.com on Ritalin:

    Serious Cardiovascular Events

    Sudden Death and Pre-Existing Structural Cardiac Abnormalities or Other Serious Heart Problems
    Children and Adolescents

    Sudden death has been reported in association with CNS stimulant treatment at usual doses in children and adolescents with structural cardiac abnormalities or other serious heart problems. Although some serious heart problems alone carry an increased risk of sudden death, stimulant products generally should not be used in children or adolescents with known serious structural cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, serious heart rhythm abnormalities, or other serious cardiac problems that may place them at increased vulnerability to the sympathomimetic effects of a stimulant drug.

    Sudden death, stroke, and myocardial infarction have been reported in adults taking stimulant drugs at usual doses for ADHD. Although the role of stimulants in these adult cases is also unknown, adults have a greater likelihood than children of having serious structural cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy, serious heart rhythm abnormalities, coronary artery disease, or other serious cardiac problems. Adults with such abnormalities should also generally not be treated with stimulant drugs.
    Hypertension and Other Cardiovascular Conditions
    Stimulant medications cause a modest increase in average blood pressure (about 2-4 mmHg) and average heart rate (about 3-6 bpm), and individuals may have larger increases. While the mean changes alone would not be expected to have short-term consequences, all patients should be monitored for larger changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Caution is indicated in treating patients whose underlying medical conditions might be compromised by increases in blood pressure or heart rate, e.g., those with pre-existing hypertension, heart failure, recent myocardial infarction, or ventricular arrhythmia.
    Assessing Cardiovascular Status in Patients being Treated with Stimulant Medications
    Children, adolescents, or adults who are being considered for treatment with stimulant medications should have a careful history (including assessment for a family history of sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia) and physical exam to assess for the presence of cardiac disease, and should receive further cardiac evaluation if findings suggest such disease (e.g., electrocardiogram and echocardiogram). Patients who develop symptoms such as exertional chest pain, unexplained syncope, or other symptoms suggestive of cardiac disease during stimulant treatment should undergo a prompt cardiac evaluation.
    Psychiatric Adverse Events

    Pre-Existing Psychosis

    Administration of stimulants may exacerbate symptoms of behavior disturbance and thought disorder in patients with a pre-existing psychotic disorder.
    Bipolar Illness

    Particular care should be taken in using stimulants to treat ADHD in patients with comorbid bipolar disorder because of concern for possible induction of a mixed/ manic episode in such patients. Prior to initiating treatment with a stimulant, patients with comorbid depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression.
    Emergence of New Psychotic or Manic Symptoms

    Treatment emergent psychotic or manic symptoms, e. g., hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania in children and adolescents without a prior history of psychotic illness or mania can be caused by stimulants at usual doses. If such symptoms occur, consideration should be given to a possible causal role of the stimulant, and discontinuation of treatment may be appropriate. In a pooled analysis of multiple short-term, placebo-controlled studies, such symptoms occurred in about 0.1% (4 patients with events out of 3,482 exposed to methylphenidate or amphetamine for several weeks at usual doses) of stimulant-treated patients compared to 0 in placebo-treated patients.

    Aggressive behavior or hostility is often observed in children and adolescents with ADHD, and has been reported in clinical trials and the postmarketing experience of some medications indicated for the treatment of ADHD. Although there is no systematic evidence that stimulants cause aggressive behavior or hostility, patients beginning treatment for ADHD should be monitored for the appearance of or worsening of aggressive behavior or hostility.
    Long-Term Suppression of Growth

    Careful follow-up of weight and height in children ages 7 to 10 years who were randomized to either methylphenidate or non-medication treatment groups over 14 months, as well as in naturalistic subgroups of newly methylphenidate-treated and non-medication treated children over 36 months (to the ages of 10 to 13 years), suggests that consistently medicated children (i.e., treatment for 7 days per week throughout the year) have a temporary slowing in growth rate (on average, a total of about 2 cm less growth in height and 2.7 kg less growth in weight over 3 years), without evidence of growth rebound during this period of development. Published data are inadequate to determine whether chronic use of amphetamines may cause a similar suppression of growth, however, it is anticipated that they likely have this effect as well. Therefore, growth should be monitored during treatment with stimulants, and patients who are not growing or gaining height or weight as expected may need to have their treatment interrupted.
  4. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    GN, This was not a medical journal article just a simple one page newsletter. There is much medical documentation to the claims that can be found on the internet. I only posted this because I as a parent was not told of the risks when my so was put on this and similar drugs years ago. I am not advocating for or against the use of Ritlin in properly diagnosis'd children I am only saying that we as parents need to be properly appraised of the risks of all medicines that we administer to our children. I was not and felt the need to let others be informed who might not know .

    SW- thank you for that info. I see that they do warn for those with pre existing heart conditions but there have been deaths associated with ritlin when there have been no know heart abnormalities. You were very lucky to have had a Doctor who was up on the risks and did indeed monitor for growth and other side effects. I was not as fortunate but then my difficult child is older. When he was in school ritlin was the end all and be all of treatment and majorly pushed by my school district. -RM
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am sure this could be true in some instances and like always parents have to weigh the benefits of a medication. All medications carry a risk.

    I know for my boys, ritilan did not stunt their height, or if it did, then I shudder to think of how tall they would have been considering one is 6'1 and the other is 6'5.5!
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    My son is very small, the daytrana could stunt his growth. But for him it is more dangerous to not take it, he would get beat up more often because he is so out of control without his medication.

    Everything is dangerous, including supplements and tylenol.

    It is good, however, to be informed of the risks.
  7. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Janet, My son was in no way groth stunted either he is 6'7" LOL!

    CM, I agree that for many kids these medications are a life saver esecially if they are prone to doing dangerous things like mine was.

    All- I just learned from the Association for the Help of Retarded Children's (AHRP) website the following:

    "In 2006, the FDA required makers of ADHD drugs to update the drugs' labels to warn of rare but increased risks for psychiatric problems, heart attacks and strokes.

    The FDA is conducting two more studies to determine the relation of ADHD medicines to death and stroke. One involves children and should be completed in the fall, while the other, in adults, likely won't be released until 2010." -Jared A. Favole

    That would explain why I was not informed 12 years ago since I do read all literature for prescribed and OTC medications.

    Also it seems that there are professionals weighing in on both sides of the debate. What to me seems to be a prudent approach would be to monitor the heart before starting and throughout the use of these types of drugs. In addition as stated by Smallworld a child's growth should also be monitered.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My kids don't go near stimulants anymore since my grown daughter became an ADHD/stimulant/meth addict in her teens. The FDA needs to warn parents about ALL possible problems with drugs. I wonder if, on their black box, they warn that this drug IS abused and can cause addiction and kill you. Ritalin was one of the drugs, with Adderrall being the most common, to be used by teens, crushed in pillcrushers and snorted. And kids are pretty good at faking ADHD and doctors are quick to hand out stimulants.

    I was told that drugs like Ritalin and Adderrall had a low addiction rate. I'm finding that's not the case...that they are a huge drug of choice to abuse these days. That's why the pharmacists are so tough on prescriptions.

    by the way, not everyone knows, even if their child regularly sees a doctor, if there is a hidden heart problem.

    I personally believe the FDA is covering for the drug companies who produce stimulants and not telling us the whole story. My son was once on stimulants and it scares me now.

    I don't trust the FDA farther than I can throw them. How long did it take for them to put the warning on SSRIs that they can cause suicidal ideation in children? Guess what....it can do that to adults too. Grrrrrrrrrrrr...this post hit a sore spot with me...lol.

    Off the soap box. Carry on, folks! :tongue:
  9. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    MWM, Due to the scientific process science often lags years behind reality. Think about High School Science labs and the process to prove a theory. As a lay person we can see an apparent corralation between cause and effect and draw a conclusion but a scientist has to prove it within a narrow range of certainity before he will go on record. -RM
  10. MyFriendKita

    MyFriendKita Member

    My son took Adderall for about six months, and although he did experiment with drugs, he never abused his Adderall. I NEVER let him have the bottle, it was always kept with me. And I don't know about other schools, but our school would not let a student carry Adderall. My son did take it at school, but I had to take it to the school and give it to someone in the office. It was never in his possession. When we started having behavior problems with him, we locked up or destroyed all medication in the house. I think that's just common sense, especially when you have a problem teen in the house.

    As far as 5-HTP being harmless:


    Just because something is promoted as being "natural" doesn't mean it's harmless.
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I didn't know my daughter abused ADHD drugs until she told me, once she was clean. She didn't take any. She got them off the street (they are sold and expensive) and she also got them from people who either faked ADHD and got a prescription and/or stole their baby brother's script etc. She also knew a woman who had a meth lab. Her daughter was my daughter's friend. I never assume I know what my kids did. I'm sure your son didn't take his prescription illegally because you were on the ball. But he could have used someone else's Adderrall that was bought off the street or stolen. We never had Adderrall in the house by the time my daughter's drug use was in full swing. There comes an age when you don't always know what your kids do, no matter how you try to watch them.

    It really blew my mind to think of them being crushed and snorted. Would have never crossed my mind. And they ARE addictive. My daughter was an addict. She was lucky she was able to quit. And I'm proud of her for it, but I think the warning should be there. If you use the medications correctly, you won't get addicted, but many teens who have disorders don't use drugs correctly. And some who never used ADHD drugs in their lives, like my daughter, found out they are a fast high. Ugh! :(
  12. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    RM1976, I didn't use 5-HTP on my son only fish oil and grapeseed extract. Like I said, being informed is key. -RM