Toddlers prescribed ADHD meds

Toddlers prescribed ADHD meds

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Amphetamines are prescribed to treat ADHD Amphetamines are prescribed to treat ADHD
EDMOND - Toddlers are notoriously impulsive and hyperactive.  So why are thousands of them prescribed medications to stop those behaviors?   And is it safe? We found out when FOX 25 Anchor Wendy Suares took her own rambunctious 2 year olds for their annual checkup.

Doctor visits, like the 2 year well visit, check things like your child's growth and their developmental milestones. And it's at this age some parents begin seeking out prescription medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD.

"I have people ask about it, yes," said Mercy pediatrician Savannah Stumph. "Do I believe it's ADHD? No."  

In this office, those parents who are looking for a quick fix leave empty handed.

"There are people that leave unhappy," said Dr. Stumph.
 
But that's not the case everywhere.  The CDC recently found more than 10-thousand 2 and 3 year olds are given ADHD drugs despite guidelines that they shouldn't be administered to kids under 4.   ADHD can't be diagnosed before age 4.

Doctors who go against the rules are taking a big risk. The possible effects on growth and cognitive development simply aren't known in children this young.

Dr. Stumph said, "There's never been any safety studies done in anyone at the age of 2 or 3, so it's really irresponsible."

There are also the side effects of these amphetamine drugs that could be especially damaging to toddlers- appetite suppression for these already picky eaters and difficulty sleeping.

The CDC's report points out most of the toddlers on these meds come from low-income families, suggesting the root cause of the children's behavior may not be medical at all.  

"I ask a lot of questions about the family situation," said Dr. Stumph. "Like where are they going for after care, are they in school, who are the caregivers that are in their life.  You really have to get a good family history."

Dr. Stumph's take- parenting toddlers is tough. But a quick fix in the form of a pill is a bad idea.   

Nationally 11% of children between 4 and 17 are diagnosed with ADHD.  Doctors say every child should undergo a careful evaluation and behavior therapy before going on medication.

Beware of so-called natural remedies, drops and supplements that promise to calm your toddler.  There is no science to suggest they are effective.  
 



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