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Consumer Reports to Parents: Think Twice About Free Prescription ADHD Drug Samples for Your Children
Date:7/8/2009

ee samples of expensive brand-name drugs.

Drug companies gave away an estimated $16 billion in free drug samples in 2004, and doctors routinely hand out these free samples to parents. In fact, according to one October 2008 study in the journal of Pediatrics; about 1 out of every 10 kids already taking a medication got a free drug sample. According to that study, which looked at data from 2004, the ADHD drug Strattera was the 4th most common free drug sample given to children; Adderall XR was in the top 15.

A recent poll by the Consumer Reports National Research Center revealed that 80 percent of Americans who take prescription drugs have received free samples from their physicians. "The use of free samples is extremely prevalent and insidious," said Santa. "And is likely not the best first-choice treatment for a patient's condition."

"Once the samples run out, consumers are likely to end up with sticker shock when they go to fill the prescription," explained Santa. Moreover, samples often do not contain a patient package insert, which describe important safety information.

Ensure a Correct ADHD Diagnosis

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs notes that many young patients who take ADHD drugs either do not have ADHD or have only mild symptoms. Before starting any drug treatment for ADHD, it's essential to get an accurate diagnosis by a medical professional.

"Few children present with symptoms of ADHD that can be easily diagnosed by simple observation," said Dr. Orly Avitzur, medical adviser, Consumers Union. "Most need to be evaluated with formal testing, and questionnaires answered by the parents and teachers. A complete history and physical examination should also be performed before medication is prescribed."

Children or teens with ADHD exhibit a persistent pattern, lasting six months or more, including impulsive
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SOURCE Consumer Reports Health
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