ADHD Amphetamines

ADHD Drug Side Effects & Diagnosing

Decrease Brain Blood Flow
False ADHD Diagnoses
Reduce Body and Brain Size
Stronger than Cocaine
Youngest children in classroom most often targeted



Decrease of Blood Flow in the Brain:

Methylphenidate [such as Ritalin] decreases regional cerebral blood flow in normal human subjects.
Life Sci. 1994;54(9):PL143-6.

Wang GJ1Volkow NDFowler JSFerrieri RSchlyer DJAlexoff DPappas NLieberman JKing PWarner D, et al.


To assess the effects of methylphenidate (MP) on cerebral blood flow (CBF), 5 healthy males were studied using 15O-water and positron emission tomography before and after MP (0.5 mg/kg iv). MP significantly decreased whole brain CBF at 5-10 minutes (25 +/- 11%) and at 30 minutes (20 +/- 10%) after its administration. Decrements in CBF were homogeneous throughout the brain (regional decrements 23-30%) and probably reflect the vasoactive properties of MP. The vasoactive properties of MP should be considered when prescribing this drug chronically and/or when giving it to subjects with cerebrovascular compromise.



False ADHD Diagnoses:


Nearly 1 million children potentially misdiagnosed with ADHD‑1‑million‑children‑potentially‑misdiagnosed‑with‑adhd/

Nearly 1 million children in the United States are potentially misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder simply because they are the youngest – and most immature – in their kindergarten class, according to new research by a Michigan State University economist.

These children are significantly more likely than their older classmates to be prescribed behavior‑modifying stimulants such as Ritalin, said Todd Elder, whose study appears in the September issue of the Journal of Health Economics.

Such inappropriate treatment is particularly worrisome because of the unknown impacts of long‑term stimulant use on children’s health, Elder said. It also wastes an estimated $320 million‑$500 million a year on unnecessary medication – some $80 million‑$90 million of it paid by Medicaid, he said.


Reduce Body & Brain Size:

Cortical atrophy in young adults with a history of hyperactivity in childhood

March 1986 Volume 17, Issue 3, Pages 241–246

A computed tomographic (CT) brain scan study was conducted in 24 young males treated and followed up for hyperactivity since childhood. Compared to 27 matched controls, adults with a history of hyperactivity had a significantly greater frequency of cerebral atrophy. No differences in cerebellar atrophy frequency or in lateral cerebral ventricle-to-brain ratio (VBR) were found. The possible associations of hyperactivity or perhaps stimulant drug treatment to atrophic brain changes are discussed.


Ritalin linked to growth delays in adolescent boys

JANUARY 22, 2013 12:00AM
ADOLESCENT boys receiving prolonged treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are likely to be slimmer and shorter than their non-medicated peers and experience “significantly delayed” puberty .

A Sydney University study of 65 boys receiving stimulants for ADHD found those aged between 12 and 14 had significantly lower weight and body mass than untreated boys in the same age bracket. Between 14 and 16, the medicated group were shorter, slimmer and experienced delays in puberty.


Slowing of growth in height and weight on stimulants: a characteristic pattern

Poulton ACowell CT
J Paediatr Child Health. 2003 Apr;39(3):180-5.


The aims of the present study were to describe the growth pattern of children starting stimulant medication and to analyse the changes over time in height, weight and height velocity in a cohort of treated patients.


Retrospective review of growth data from files of all newly treated patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in one paediatric practice. Forty-four boys and seven girls were treated for 6-42 months with either dexam-phetamine (n = 32) or methylphenidate (n = 19).


During the first 6 months on stimulant medication 44 children (86%) had a height velocity below the age-corrected mean and there was weight loss in 39 (76%). The height and weight standard deviation score (SDS) showed a progressive decline that was statistically significant after 6 and 18 months (P < 0.001, paired t-test). The height velocity was significantly attenuated for the first 30 months (P < 0.01), being lowest during the first 6 months. The mean height deficit during the first 2 years was approximately 1 cm/year. The change in weight SDS was 2.4 times the change in height SDS after 30 months on treatment with a significant correlation (Pearson’s correlation coefficient r = 0.88, P < 0.001).


Stimulant medication is associated with a decrease in height and weight SDS during the first 6-30 months with a characteristic pattern on the growth chart.


Daily methylphenidate use slows the growth of children: a community based study.
J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab.
 2003 Jun;16(5):711-8.


The use of methylphenidate (Ritalin) for treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has increased dramatically over the last decade. However, the influence of methylphenidate on growth remains controversial. Our goals were to assess whether methylphenidate, as prescribed in the community setting, influences growth.


We examined the growth of 84 patients with ADHD treated with methylphenidate in two large pediatric practices. Height standard deviation (SD) scores of treated children were compared with those of untreated biological siblings. We also analyzed the doses of methylphenidate in relation to changes in growth.


We found significant differences in mean height SD scores between treated children and sibling controls after 2 years of treatment. Effects on growth were observed over the broad range of doses used (10-80 mg per day).


Our findings suggest that the prevalence of grow-suppressive effects of methylphenidate is greater than previously suspected.


Powerful Drugs

Stronger Than Cocaine

Ritalin may cause changes in the brain’s reward areas
February 4, 2009 | Science News
Study: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online: February 6, 2009
A common treatment for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, prescribed millions of times a year, may change the brain in the same ways that cocaine does, a new study in mice suggests. Research from Rockefeller University shows that methylphenidate, commonly known as Ritalin causes physical changes in neurons in reward regions of mouse brains. In some cases, the effects overlapped with those of cocaine..

“Methylphenidate… , can have structural and biochemical effects in some regions of the brain that can be even greater than those of cocaine,” says [ Yong] Kim. “Further studies are needed to determine the behavioral implications of these changes and to understand the mechanisms by which these drugs affect synapse formation.”


Pay Attention: Ritalin Acts Much Like Cocaine – Screenshot for …
by Brian Vastag – ‎1998 – ‎
… STARTLING RESULTS:  Using a radiotracer, [11C]raclopride, that labels dopamine transporters, the team scanned 11 healthy men who took various doses of oral methylphenidate. The results were shocking.

“We were surprised as hell,” said Volkow. “We didn’t expect this.” Instead of being a less potent transport inhibitor than cocaine, methylphenidate was more potent.   A typical dose given to children, 0.5 mg/kg, blocked 70% of dopamine transporters.  “The data clearly show that the notion that Ritalin is a weak stimulant is completely incorrect,” Volkow said.




1 in 660 became psychotic

The study only looked at those that newly took amphetamines AND were prescribed an antipsychotic. Approximately 1 in 660 became psychotic on ADHD amphetamines with Adderall more than double the rate of Ritalin.



Youngest Targeted for Diagnosis

Younger Students More Likely to Get A.D.H.D. Drugs‑students‑more‑likely‑to‑get‑a‑d‑h‑d‑drugs/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

The findings suggest that in a given grade, students born at the end of the calendar year may be at a distinct disadvantage. Those perceived as having academic or behavioral problems may in fact be lagging simply as a result of being forced to compete with classmates almost a full year older than them. For a child as young as 5, a span of one year can account for 20 percent of the child’s age, potentially making him or her appear significantly less mature than older classmates.

The new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, used data from Iceland, where health and academic measures are tracked nationally and stimulant prescription rates are high and on par with rates in the United States. Previous studies carried out there and in other countries have shown similar patterns, even among college students.

Helga Zoega, the lead author of the study, said she had expected there would be performance differences between students in the youngest grades, but she did not know that the differences, including the disparity in stimulant prescribing rates, would continue over time.

“We were surprised to see that,” said Dr. Zoega, a postdoctoral fellow at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and an assistant professor at the University of Iceland. “It may be that the youngest kids in class are just acting according to their age. But their behavior is thought of as symptoms of something else, rather than maturity.”

A similar pattern was seen with A.D.H.D. medication, with students in the youngest third of their grade significantly more likely to receive stimulant prescriptions than their classmates in the oldest third. Dr. Zoega found that gender had some influence as well. Over all, girls scored higher than boys on tests, and had lower rates of stimulant prescriptions. But ultimately there was still an age effect among girls for both academic performance and the use of A.D.H.D. medication.


Youngest Kids in Class Get More ADHD Diagnoses, Drugs‑kids‑in‑class‑get‑more‑adhd‑diagnoses‑drugs/35621.html

Youngest Kids in Class Get More ADHD Diagnoses, Drugs A new Canadian study finds that the youngest children in a classroom are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with attention‑deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than their peers in the same grade.

The younger children were also more likely to be prescribed medication.

Experts report that ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in children. The condition is usually treated with medication and sometimes with psychotherapy as well.

Two recent studies have shown a link between the relative age of children and diagnosis of ADHD and prescription of medication. Relative age is used to describe younger children in the same grade as children who may be almost a year older. These younger children may appear to be immature compared with their older peers.

Investigators studied 937,943 children in British Columbia, a province where the cut‑off for entry into kindergarten or grade one is Dec. 31. The research included children who were between 6 and 12 years at any point during the 11‑year study conducted from Dec. 1, 1997 to Nov. 30, 2008.

Researchers found that children were 39 percent more likely to be diagnosed and 48 percent more likely to be treated with medication for ADHD if born in December compared to January.


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