Reporting Deficit Disorder....The WSJ At it Again

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  • 05/25/2006

Suzanne Sataline’s article “ADHD Study May Renew Debate” does a disservice to parents and patients everywhere dealing with ADHD by doing a poor job of placing the relative risks and benefits of medication for the illness in proper context. The study you cite fails to distinguish, for example, between different medications and between extended and regular release medications. Randomized clinical trials show that patients taking extended release stimulants are less likely to the ER than those using three times a daily formulations. Then too, the study ignores the fact that children with ADHD are more likely to use the ER than children without. Most troubling, you ignore the fact the the incidence of adverse events with such medications is extremely low compared to other widely used medications. For example, aspirin and other painkillers are associated with 117,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths each year. By comparison children diagnosed with ADHD are no more likely to be sent to the ER than children without the illness, a point your article fails to make. Ultimately Sataline’s article — and the study upon which it was based — was structured to scare, not inform.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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