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Researchers shape ADHD drug use

Academics from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s have taken a leading part in shaping EU guidelines on managing adverse effects of medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Currently, the safety of ADHD medications is not fully known and concerns have arisen about a lack of contemporary-standard information about medications first licensed several decades ago. 

Professors Eric Taylor and Emily Simonoff from the IoP and colleagues from across Europe considered factors which included:

Frequency of cardiac adverse events in treated and untreated populations

Suicide-related events
Growth in childhood
Sleep disturbance
Tics and Tourette’s syndrome
Substance abuse, misuse and diversion
Epilepsy and seizures
Psychotic symptoms
Drug holidays as a way of controlling adverse effects of ADHD drugs
Issues lacking evidence and future evidence sources

Following on from the recent surge in ADHD diagnoses, particularly in children, the review addresses uncertainties concerning whether children are being exposed to unreasonable hazard, whether real risks go undetected or whether children are being denied the benefit of medication (if perceived risks are exaggerated).

Professor Eric Taylor, said: ‘Assembling a co-operating group of experts across Europe has been a great experience and ex-students from IoP have been crucial members. We think the review will make clinicians more effective and more confident. The work has already gone on to generate an international EU-funded research programme.’

‘European guidelines on managing adverse effects of medication for ADHD’ is published in this month’s European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. To read more, please follow the link.
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