Friday, October 3, 2008
Medical Reports: ADHD
More than two and a half million children in America are on some form of medication to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, but some of those prescription drugs may be doing your child more harm than good. On today's Healthcast, Seven's Christine Cruz shows us that figuring out the right treatment is a delicate debate.
WSVN -- It's a rare moment of calmness at the Boisvert home. A family game keeps the chaos under control.
Nine-year-old Nick suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
Julie Boisvert: "A typical sibling rivalry could turn into something totally different in my house to window breaking."
He takes medication, but mom Julie worries about side effects, especially the heart risks. The FDA has recommended that all ADHD drugs carry warnings after a study linked the stimulants to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
The American Heart Association came out with its own recommendation: "It's reasonable for a child to get an electrocardiogram or EKG before starting the medications."
William DeCampli, Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon: "I don't take lightly the recommendation of expert panels."
Some doctors say an EKG could catch heart problems early on. Others feel being too cautious can be too costly.
Thomas Carson: "When you start having millions of kids requiring tests that cost hundreds of dollars, that begins to add up."
Before you sign your child up for an EKG, have the doctor do a complete family history focusing on heart health. Children should also have a thorough physical exam, looking for heart murmurs or high blood pressure. If no red flags pop up, an EKG may not be necessary.
Nick hasn't had an EKG, but his mom is considering it if only to provide peace of mind.
Christine Cruz: "An EKG can cost up to $150, but Dr. Decampli says, given the new recommendations, most insurers will cover the cost."
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