May/ June 1999 - Volume 2 - Issue 5
These two articles provide disturbing evidence that Ritalin may cause permanent damage to the myocardial (heart) ultra structure of humans.
Over a million young ADD/ADHD people are now taking Ritalin. How many of these young people and their parents have been informed by their physicians that Ritalin may cause permanent heart damage? Have the manufacturers of methylphenadate carefully investigated the matter of possible heart damage from Ritalin? How harmful is such damage? What current medical research is ongoing concerning this matter? Should physicians and the lay public know more about this issue?
Are you aware that the pediatric literature, including textbooks, often recommend that Ritalin be the first medication prescribed to young people with ADD/ADHD? Equally as disturbing to me, because of the Board's power to regulate physician behavior, the Medical Board of California (most members of which are not medical doctors) recently state, "Tricyclic antidepressants are recommended only when the patient's symptoms are resistant to stimulant (Ritalin) therapy, or stimulant therapy that is otherwise specifically contraindicated." Adding coal to the fire, the New York Times newspaper recently published an article about adults with ADD/ADHD which stressed the important role of Ritalin in treatment while never mentioning that Ritalin may cause permanent heart damage.
Why is Ritalin commonly recommended as the initial treatment medication over the amphetamines, especially dextroamphetamine? One important reason is based on pure emotions. The amphetamines have a bad reputation because methamphetamine is a common street-drug. People have gone to prison on amphetamine-related charges.
The experience of some physicians, however, is that the amphetamines are in general clinically more effective than Ritalin for the treatment of ADD/ADHD. Moreover, the argument that Ritalin should be preferred to amphetamines is not supported by medical science. Methylphenadate is structurally related to amphetamine, shares the abuse potential of the amphetamines, and its pharmacological properties are essentially the same as those of the amphetamines. Goodman & Gilman's The Pharmacological basis of Therapeutics, 9th Ed.
The next important question is, should the initial mediation treatment of ADD/ADHD be a stimulant or an antidepressant drug? Of course, it should be the "proper drug" for the given individual. The "proper drug" is the one that corrects the specific ADD/ADHD complaints of the individual. In my opinion, that drug is more often and antidepressant than a stimulant. Let's look at the facts.
POSITIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT RITALIN:
NEGATIVE STATEMENTS ABOUT RITALIN:
REASONS WHY ANTIDEPRESSANTS, ESPECIALLY TRICYCLIC ANTIDEPRESSANTS, MIGHT BE BETTER FIRST-CHOICE MEDICINES:
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Monroe Gross, founder of the ADD Medical Treatment
Center of Santa Clara Valley (ADDMTC), 2505 Samaritan Drive, Suite 401, San Jose, CA
95124, USA. Phone (408) 356-8636; FAX (408) 356-5907. Please visit his website at www.addmtc.org to view this articel and many others.