Families Weigh Drugs for Attention Deficit

Benjamin Brewer, MD:

With school about to start, kids are coming in for their physicals — and for medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
I’m seeing more kids each year with symptoms of ADHD. Some just have the attention problems and others are hyperactive, too.
New treatments can be given once a day. They are relatively easy for kids to take at home and don’t require the involvement of the school nurse during the day, as shorter-acting older medicines do.
The medicines are even easier for doctors to prescribe. A trial of medication is the quickest and easiest thing to try for kids with symptoms, given the limited impact a doctor can have on complex family dynamics.
It may be too easy an option considering the rising sales of these heavily marketed medications. Ads for attention-deficit medications are everywhere in the popular press where a parent might see them, including People, Good Housekeeping and Family Circle magazines at our house.