Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stimulant ADHD drugs reduce liklihood of teen substance abuse

Reuters HealthDay reported on October 6, 2008 on a study done at Massachusetts General Hospital which found that girls with ADHD who are treated with stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Aderall have lower rates of substance abuse as teens than kids untreated. This study mirrors a similar study which found the same situation for boys. Here is a snippet from the HealthDay article:

Stimulant treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) significantly cuts the odds that adolescent girls will smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs, a new Massachusetts General Hospital study shows.

The finding parallels previous studies in boys, the team note.

People with ADHD are at significantly increased risk for cigarette smoking and substance abuse. In the past, there were concerns that treatment of ADHD with stimulant drugs such as Ritalin might increase the risk of drug or alcohol abuse.

But in several studies of boys and young men with ADHD, researchers have found that stimulant treatment actually decreases the risk and delays the onset of substance abuse in adolescence. It does not affect the risk of using tobacco, alcohol, or drugs in adulthood, however.

The same researchers set out to see how stimulant treatment for ADHD affects the risk of substance abuse in adolescent girls.

"Girls with ADHD actually tend to get into trouble with substance abuse earlier than do boys with the disorder, so confirming those results was not simply academic," lead researcher Timothy Wilens, director of the Substance Abuse Program in Massachusetts General's Pediatric Psychopharmacology Department, said in a hospital news release.

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