The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved a controversial drug designed to ease the effects of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children as young as six years old.
Called Adzenys XR-ODT, the amphetamine-based medication can easily be taken as a chewable, which is basically Adderall in candy form. The chewable medium may ease discomfort related to taking pill-based medicines. However, parents and some groups in the medical community are concerned about the possibility of abuse. When taken, the pellet dissolves in the patient’s mouth, leaving a fruity, candy-like aftertaste.
“There’s nothing revolutionary about this drug,” said Dr. Ben Beirmann, assistant professor of psychiatry at University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “It’s simply another delivery mechanism for a medication that already exists and has widespread use.”
Addiction Concerns Inevitable
Adzenys packs a powerful three to one ratio of d- to l-amphetamine, ultimately designed to help ADHD sufferers regain composure and focus when performing daily tasks. For individuals without ADHD, the medication serves as a stimulant, usually taken by students cramming for tests, and professionals meeting tight deadlines at work. Moreover, some people take the drug to streamline weight loss and suppress uncontrollable appetites. Side effects of the pill includes insomnia, headaches, dry mouth, depression and anxiety.
Parents are increasingly worried about the portable aspects of the chewable tab. In candy form, the drug can be disguised with other sweet treats. It will also come in blister packs, making storage possible in small pockets. Unlike conventional, orange prescription bottles, blister packs do not support a locking mechanism that prevents kids from opening the case. The prescription drug is scheduled for a nationwide launch later this month. Adzenys is prescribed to be taken once a day with time release properties. Therefore, there is technically no need to have multiple tabs at one’s disposal.
According to an industry report from IBIS World, medicine sales used to treat ADHD have almost tripled from $4.7 billion (in 2006) to $12.7 billion (in 2015). Ritalin and Adderall are top choices for treatment for both children and adults. Roughly 75 percent of children diagnosed with the disorder are taking medication, based on stats from the Washington Post. This figure is alarming for medical professionals who advise parents to enroll their kids in behavioral therapy sessions before resorting to synthetic meds. It is common for parents to skip therapy consultations and jump straight into medication, due to time and budget constraints.
New research published in The Journal of Attention Disorders suggest that simple lifestyle changes may also help improve one’s condition. “Many parents of children diagnosed with ADHD do not want their children on medication,” said Kathleen Holton, a professor in American University’s Department of Health Studies and the study’s lead author. “Having their children follow healthy lifestyle behaviors may be an effective intervention either alongside or in the place of traditional ADHD medications.”