ADD / ADHD, ADD / ADHD Medication, Science

Are ADHD drugs safe?

Medication like Adderall, Concerta, Strattera and or course Ritalin do not treat ADHD they only help with the symptoms so ADHD sufferers need to take them for years, possibly for the rest of their lives. What effect does that have on your long-term health?
The  Oregon Health & Science University is running a drug effectiveness review program which compares medications and works out the most effective. They have just published a massive study into medication for ADHD. Unfortunately it is not  online but there is coverage in The News Tribune . Their findings were:

  • No evidence on long-term safety of drugs used to treat ADHD in young children” or adolescents.
  • "Good quality evidence … is lacking” that ADHD drugs improve “global academic performance, consequences of risky behaviors, social achievements” and other measures.
  • Safety evidence is of “poor quality,” including research into the possibility that some ADHD drugs could stunt growth, one of the greatest concerns of parents.
  • Evidence that ADHD drugs help adults “is not compelling,” nor is evidence that one drug “is more tolerable than another.”
  • The way the drugs work is, in most cases, not well understood.
  • In short, we don’t how the drugs work, what effect they have over the long term or that they help in academic behaviour.
    See also: ADHD, Children and Medication , FDA Concerns Over ADHD Drug ConcertaADHD Drug Market: $2.7 billion