Are ADHD Medications Safe? Featuring Dr. Hallowell and Dr Kurtz


Patrick McKenna – How safe are the current ADHD medications?
Dr. Edward Hallowell – what’s unfortunate about the medications that we use to treat ADD is people
don’t realize how safe they are. It’s a real failure of public education. The
fact is stimulant medication has been in use to treat what we now call ADHD since
1937 nothing lasts that long in the realm of pharmacology unless it is both
safe and effective. Dr Steven Kurtz – so we often get asked how safe is Ritalin or any of the other
approved medications? So Ritalin just being one of the stimulants, and there’s
now 70 years of history, 1937 Dr. Bradley accidentally discovered the role of this
kind of medicine and helping these kinds of kids and there is no study that shows
any long-term negative effects of short or long term treatment with these
medicines. Dr Jain – these aren’t new medications the long-acting versions may be new
technologies of delivery but they use the same medications. So if you ask me
the question so how will this kid be 20 years from now after he takes the
medication if he has to take it for 20 years I can tell you I actually have
data looking at the long term treatment of this individual, and it’s okay. There
is nothing that’s gonna happen it’s going to be a risk to this person. Dr Steven Kurtz – the
outcome studies on adults unfortunately don’t carefully break down and couldn’t
carefully break down people who got no treatment a little bit of treatment and
long term treatment because in all of those studies when they were done over
the past few decades they didn’t ever involve more than 14 months of treatment. The longest and largest treatment study was only 14 months of treatment. ADHD
medications of all the medications we have in medicine frankly are medications
that have been around for a long long time and people should know that they
are relatively safe. Now yes they’re controlled substances psychostimulants
are there are non stimulant medications which we also use. The fact is is that their risk of abuse is not within the ADHD individual their
risk of abuse are for people who don’t have ADHD who are looking for some high from the wrong use of the medication. Dr. Edward Hallowell – yet we fear the stimulant to all of
these dangerous drugs and our good old friend aspirin we sell over the counter.
Now I’m not saying stimulants are without risk sure if you snort them
that’s dangerous if you grind them up and inject them that’s dangerous but if
you grind up and inject a watermelon seed that’s dangerous too. Given
parameters of responsible usage under the supervision of a doctor who knows
what he or she is doing these ADHD medications are extraordinarily safe. Dr Kurtz – researchers who image brains and look at biology including some of the folks here
at the NYU Child Study Center have looked and seen no differences in brains
as a function of being on stimulants for any length of time whether it’s a short
medium or long term.