University of Toronto and Princeton University researchers take to Bloomberg View to discuss the findings from their large-scale, long-term study of ADHD and medicating in Quebec released by the US National Bureau of Economic Research last year. They found that prescribing of medications for ADHD climbed to 9% of children compared to 5% elsewhere in Canada after the province made the medications more affordable. And it hasn’t helped those kids, say the researchers. “One might have anticipated that easier access to medication would lead to improved health and, ideally, better educational performance. Instead, we found evidence that the children using stimulants fared slightly worse,” they write.
The researchers also found a notable increase in medicating of girls, and note that, “the added stimulant use among girls was associated with more symptoms of anxiety and depression, falling math scores, and a decline in the probability they would go on to get a post-secondary education.”
Ritalin May Be Sabotaging Your Kids (Bloomberg View, July 3, 2014)
Do stimulant medications improve educational and behavioral outcomes for children with ADHD? (Currie, J. et al. June 2013. National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper.)