Consumer Reports to Parents: Think Twice About Free Prescription ADHD Drug Samples for Your Children
Consumers Could Save Roughly
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs found that two generic ADHD drugs, dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate, are as safe and effective as well- known drugs like Adderall XR, Concerta or Strattera. By switching to one of those two generic drugs, consumers could save roughly
“Parents want to do what is best for their children,” says Dr.
ADHD is one of the most common behavioral problems diagnosed among school-age children in
Drug companies gave away an estimated
A recent poll by the Consumer Reports National Research Center revealed that 80 percent of Americans who take prescription drugs have received free samples from their physicians. “The use of free samples is extremely prevalent and insidious,” said Santa. “And is likely not the best first-choice treatment for a patient’s condition.”
“Once the samples run out, consumers are likely to end up with sticker shock when they go to fill the prescription,” explained Santa. Moreover, samples often do not contain a patient package insert, which describe important safety information.
Ensure a Correct ADHD Diagnosis
Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs notes that many young patients who take ADHD drugs either do not have ADHD or have only mild symptoms. Before starting any drug treatment for ADHD, it’s essential to get an accurate diagnosis by a medical professional.
“Few children present with symptoms of ADHD that can be easily diagnosed by simple observation,” said Dr. Orly Avitzur, medical adviser, Consumers Union. “Most need to be evaluated with formal testing, and questionnaires answered by the parents and teachers. A complete history and physical examination should also be performed before medication is prescribed.”
Children or teens with ADHD exhibit a persistent pattern, lasting six months or more, including impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, and/or lack of focus and inability to complete a task. A pediatrician, primary care doctor or mental-health professional should always begin by ruling out other possible reasons for their behavior. Parents should question a medical professional who diagnoses ADHD on the first visit and prescribes a drug on the spot.
ADHD Drugs May Only Work for a Few Years
And there is another hitch: a recent study shows that at least one ADHD stimulant drug, methylphenidate (Ritalin), may only work for a few years. There is little evidence proving a clear benefit beyond that. Long term studies have not been done on other ADHD drugs. Parents should routinely check in with their child’s doctor about whether the drugs are still working since all stimulant drugs, along with Strattera (a non-stimulant), may have long-term risks, including possibly suppressing a child’s growth and a rare risk of sudden death, stroke or heart attack.
The Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs report on drugs to treat ADHD is based on a systematic review of hundreds of research articles and studies, where the risks and benefits of one drug or many drugs against each other are evaluated. This kind of systematic review is known as comparative effectiveness and all Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs reports use this process as the basis for their drug Ratings.
Find out more about the Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs program that evaluates more than 200 drugs for dozens of common conditions here: www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org/Best-Buy-Drugs.
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SOURCE Consumer Reports Health