News FocusEpidemiology

Duke Study Faults Overuse of Stimulants for Children

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Science  04 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5480, pp. 721
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5480.721

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Some experts are growing concerned that Ritalin, a stimulant of the central nervous system used to calm a type of fidgety behavior called "attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder" (ADHD), is overused. Most psychiatrists think, however, that stimulants are being under prescribed, because too many cases of ADHD are going untreated. Now, an authoritative study published in this month's Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry shows that Ritalin is being given to many children who don't fit the diagnosis of ADHD, while others who do are not receiving the drug.