DTB: Vol 21, No 5. November - December 2013

Pay attention to the Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). Between an uncertain nature and a hyperactive prescription

ADHD is a phenomenon of variable and increasing prevalence, with no consistent biological markers and questionable hypothesis in favour of an organic origin. Its diagnostic criteria have fluctuated enormously over time and rely on symptom-based scales insufficiently correlated with social, family or academic dysfunction.
Non-pharmacological therapies require thorough research, and behavioural therapy plays a predominant role given its potential use. Pharmacotherapy shows some efficacy on symptoms in the short term with no clear continuity in relevant endpoints, and they should be considered only in exceptional circumstances. There are important cardiovascular, psychiatric and endocrine-related adverse effects related to pharmacotherapy (some rare and very lethal, while others are frequent but their clinical relevance is downplayed or ignored). AHDH drugs are substances of potential abuse and the current trend of initiating treatment in the adult population is a matter of concern, especially when the plurality of interests around the diagnosis makes it difficult for rational -objective, evidence-based treatment decisions to be made.


  • Luis Carlos Saiz. Pharmacotherapy Research Coordinator, Drug Prescribing Unit, Navarre Regional Health Service, Spain 
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