“Investigate ADHD drugs” peer to urge

A peer is today to call on ministers to investigate how attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is diagnosed and treated in the UK.

Independent peer Baroness Susan Greenfield, professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford, will raise the issue in the House of Lords.

Her intervention follows concerns about the increase of prescriping Ritalin and other ADHD drugs such as Concerta to children.

Baroness Greenfield will call for a wide-ranging inquiry into the huge increase in ADHD diagnoses.

The prescribing of drugs to treat children diagnosed with ADHD almost doubled over a six year period between 1998 and 2004

Baroness Greenfield told the BBC: “As well as assessing ADHD drugs themselves, we also need to find out urgently why there has been such a remarkable increase in the numbers of children being diagnosed with ADHD in the last 20 years or so.

“Could the changes to our ways of living be contributing to this increase?

“The time is ripe for an inquiry exploring the actual causes of ADHD that goes beyond merely evaluating the pros and cons of Ritalin.

“Such an inquiry could consider diverse factors ranging from diet through to screen-based activity and how they may be changing the way both children and adults interact socially.

“Children live a fast-paced, highly interactive, response mode type of existence, and maybe as a result when they go to school they find it harder to sit still.”

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has advised that drugs should only be used to treat ADHD as part of a comprehensive treatment programme.


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