Wed, Jun 02, 2004 - Page 2 News List

New form of drug for ADHD children is now available


Studies show that a sustained release drug may be more useful in treating Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder (ADHD) than medication previously prescribed, psychiatrists said yesterday.

According to a study conducted by National Taiwan University Hospital psychiatrist Gau Shur-fen (高淑芬), only 28 percent of children taking immediate release Methylphenidate, a mild central-nervous-system stimulant commonly used to treat ADHD, consistently take the drug three times a day as prescribed.

Gau said that for the past decade most Taiwanese doctors prescribed immediate release methyl-phenidate as treatment for ADHD patients. She said a new sustained release tablet form of the drug -- which recently became available in this country -- could help patients who have a difficult time adjusting to their dose schedules. The sustained release methylphenidate is a single dose drug.

The study found that 40.7 percent of those surveyed took medication only twice a day and 29.6 only once a day. Forgetting to take medication was the primary reason for missing doses for 70 percent of those polled.

The study looked into the drug use habits of roughly 400 people diagnosed with ADHD in comparison to a control group of 750 children. Gau said that while no comprehensive studies had been done on the incidence of ADHD in this country, representative samples showed that 7 percent of junior-high school students are afflicted. Internationally, 3 percent to 10 percent of elementary to junior-high school students are diagnosed with ADHD.

"Because forgetfulness is a symptom of ADHD, it's hard for children to remember to take their medication on schedule three times a day. It is also often embarrassing for children to take medication at school," Gau said.

ADHD symptoms include impulsivity, inability to concentrate and poor school performance.

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