Latest News about ADD/ADHD

– ADD/ADHD is not being over-diagnosed. In fact, 50 percent of children that would meet diagnostic criteria for the disorder are NEVER diagnosed and will struggle with distractibility and inattention throughout their entire lives.

– The most important telltale sign that a child may benefit from medication is when the child no longer feels accepted by peers, at school, or even at home. Social and academic impairment are important markers to take into consideration. In fact the American Academy of Pediatrics requires the impairment to be observed in more than one domain (social, home, school, playground, etc.) before medication treatment for ADD/ADHD is warranted.

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– From a medication perspective, the latest advances are the first-ever transdermal patch, and a new oral medication. The transdermal patch goes by the brand name Daytrana. The patch is applied directly to the skin with frequent site rotation. It has proven to be very effective, assuming of course, that the child wears it continuously throughout the day. The newest oral medication goes by the brand name Vyvanse. This drug is essentially the same as Adderall XR, and “supposedly” has less abuse potential than Adderall XR. Adderall XR will soon be losing FDA patent protection.

– Advice for parents and caretakers: Don’t be too quick to conclude that a child should be treated for this disorder. Some parents, teachers and even treating clinicians are intolerant of unruly behavior and therefore are often too quick to assign this “diagnosis.” Parents should be sure that academic or social functioning is impaired and should also consider a variety of information sources to assist in diagnostic confirmation. Optimally, a child should be assessed in multiple settings (home, school, social). Extensive interviews should be conducted with the child and at least one parent. These interviews should thoroughly review the child’s medical history and family history of ADD/ADHD, and rating scales should be employed – particularly in instances where diagnostic uncertainty is an issue. Most importantly, if ADD/ADHD is suspected, the child should be assessed by a clinician experienced in treating pediatric disorders of childhood.

Joseph Wegmann, R.Ph., LCSW is a licensed clinical pharmacist and a clinical social worker with more than thirty years of experience in the field of psychopharmacology. His diverse professional background in psychopharmacology and counseling affords him a unique perspective on medication management issues. In addition to consulting with numerous psychiatric facilities, he has presented psychopharmacology seminars to thousands of clinicians in 46 states.

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