The New ADHD Drugs
How ADHD Drug Manufacturers are Competing in a Profitable Market

The New ADHD Drugs
by Jeannine Virtue

Pharmaceutical companies vying for Ritalin's hefty market share are coming up with new drugs and aggressive campaign ads to compete in this $1 billion per year ADD drug industry.

Pharmaceutical companies introduced five new ADHD medications to treat ADD in the past five years, with other ADHD drugs expected on the market in early 2003.

The relative newcomers Addderall and the drug Concerta are joined by Metadate CD, Ritalin LA and Focalin. Another formula, Atomoxetine, should hit the market in just a few months.

The new ADHD drugs give people choosing drug therapy wider options. Yet parents, doctors, the FDA and the DEA alike worry that the unprecedented marketing tactics will further drive up demand for ADHD medications as well as increase drug abuse for these high-powered drugs.

Ritalin enjoyed the ADHD corner market for decades. Adderall, with its longer acting formula, jumped in for its share in 1996 and quickly began chiseling at Ritalin's market share. The drug Concerta, a reformulation of Ritalin, followed in 2000. Then Metadate CD and Focalin appeared.

Not willing to lose its share of the market, Ritalin makers began developing new formulas, the first--Ritalin LA--reaching FDA approval in June. In late November, the FDA approved Eli Lilly and Company's new ADHD drug formulation Strattera (Atomoxetine).

New medicines hitting the market are not all that surprising. After all, the market is wide open and growing. New prescriptions for Attention Deficit Disorder increased almost 40 percent over the past five years. Last year, doctors wrote 20 million prescriptions for ADHD medications. More American children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit than any other country in the world.

Concerta, Adderall, Metadate CD, Ritalin LA and Focalin have a high potential for side effects. Drug dependency and abuse are closely related to illegal street drugs. Strattera is different in that this is the first non-stimulant medication.

adhd drugs

It is ironic that every day millions of children line up to the counter for their dose of ADD drugs, while the person caught in possession of these drugs without a prescription faces felony charges. These drugs cannot be good for young minds and bodies.

Of the less severe side effects, children might lose weight, have problems falling asleep, have decreased appetite and grow more slowly, while taking ADHD medications.

Other side effects of ADHD drugs can include cardiac arrhythmia, depression, psychosis, facial tics, liver damage and addiction. Some doctors also believe that some ADHD medications may worsen the symptoms of Tourette's syndrome.

What's worse, ADHD medications do not always work, do not treat the core cause of Attention Deficit Disorder and could have long-term negative effects. Parents need to be clear about the benefits, as well as the potential side effects of ADHD medications.

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Still, more than enough doctors willingly diagnose children as having Attention Deficit Disorder and cut a prescription for ADD drugs. More than enough parents willing place their children on psychotropic drugs. More than enough teachers and school administrators encourage parents to "do the right thing for their child" to make their child more compliant in school.

The more surprising aspect of this wave of new ADHD drugs is the aggressive marketing of narcotics to the consumer. ADHD drug makers stepped over a 30 year international treaty agreement not to advertise controlled substances that have high potential for abuse last year, when they began marketing their magic pills.

These Schedule II controlled substances are the most addictive and abuse legal drugs.

Full page color advertisements for ADHD began splashing across the pages of women's magazines: Metadate CD, Adderall and Concerta ads show smiling children and their proud mothers touting the wonders of such ADHD medications.

Metadate CD, introduced in April, launched ads in nearly a dozen women's magazines this year. The Drug Enforcement Agency sent a cease-and-desist letter to the makers of Metadate CD after the ads appeared, yet the pharmaceutical company insisted that it did no wrong.

The DEA closely watches ADHD medication prescriptions and its advertising. ADHD drugs are the most stolen prescriptions and the most abused legal drugs. According to the DEA, drug thieves, drug dealers and drug abusers are almost always children.

Adderall and Concerta advertisements appeared in September, just in time for the back-to-school children. These companies did not name the product in the ad, but listed a toll free number for parents to call if they wanted more information.

Concerta manufacturers also began airing 60 second ads on cable TV channels. For the first time ever, Schedule II drugs found their way to mainstream television marketing.

The public can expect continued advertising of ADHD drugs as drug makers attempt to convince the public that their medications are better than the rest. Thus far, the makers of Ritalin have not marketed directly to consumers.

Rather than treating your child with drugs, consider using a natural supplement that decreases the symptoms of ADHD. Many of our subscribers have written in to say how this natural supplement has helped their children improve focus, concentration and the ability to be calm. Get More Info on Focus ADHD for Children and Adults with ADHD

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Also consider this at-home behavioral program that teaches parents how to teach their children to curb impulses, calm themselves and focus. Using supplements that nourish and heal the brain in conjunction with tools that teach new behaviors has proven very effective for parents of kids with ADHD.

About the author:

Jeannine Virtue is a freelance journalist and mother of an Attention Deficitchild. Visit her web site at to learn about effective drug-free alternatives for Attention Deficit Disorder.

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