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Psychologists call for drug reviews

The effect of drugs used to treat children with behavioural issues must be re-evaluated, according to psychologists.

It is not fully known how a child's development could be affected by the use of medication for conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it was revealed.

The Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP) is urging the government to re-examine the use of strong psychotropic drugs and undertake more research.

This follows concerns that such drugs are being used as a 'quick fix' to treat young children.

The call came as a Channel 4 News investigation found that children under six years of age are being 'chemically coshed' with drugs after being diagnosed with conditions like ADHD.

The investigation, due to be aired on Monday, found a massive increase in the amount of ADHD medicine being prescribed in Britain.

The investigation also claims that drugs are increasingly being prescribed to children aged under six, which is against manufacturers' guidelines, and those issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

AEP General Secretary, Kate Fallon, said: "There is a danger that we rely on the 'quick fix' for children with conditions such as ADHD, which frequently means the prescription of medication such as Ritalin instead of a number of other possible interventions."

In a statement, the AEP said: "The Association of Educational Psychologists considers that a national review into the use of psychotropic drugs, such as Ritalin, on school-aged children in the UK is urgently needed."

Copyright Press Association 2011

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I feel that this is an area that requires more research into what these drugs are doing to children. Having worked as a HV in an area where medication is prescribed a great deal for children with behavioural issues I have seen the problems that develop when the children become young parents and then have to cope with their own children. More work should
and can be done if funding is made available to help parents develop their coping strategies and management of their child/children with behavioural problems" - Diane, North-east

"My daughter was prescribed ritalin when she was 12 years old for ADHD after very careful consideration from the consultant pyschiatrist. I feel it helped her enormously at school and at home. I feel that we explored all other options before hand and medication was the only other final option. Ritilin has a place and works. I feel most good practitioners would only prescribe when absolutely necessary" - Bev, Derbyshire