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Pediatricians and Psychiatrists Debate Wider Diagnosing, Prescribing Guidelines for ADHD

NORWALK, Conn., Oct. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Physicians on UBM Medica's physician-led web sites are protesting and debating new guidelines just released for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. The guidelines, "ADHD: Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Evaluation and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder," were released earlier this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They call for children as young as 4 years old to be diagnosed and treated with medications for ADHD.


But psychiatrists and pediatricians on Pediatrics Consultant Live ( and Psychiatric Times ( are debating whether that is sound advice.

Dr. Allen Frances, chair of the DSM-IV Task Force and of the department of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C., calls the guidelines "reckless."

"This radical suggestion will further the already problematic overdiagnosis of ADD and expand the inappropriate prescription of medication to young children," he comments. "It is absolutely clear that medication can be very helpful for ADD in carefully diagnosed school-age kids who have moderate/severe problems and who have not responded to patient watchful waiting, parent training, and behavioral interventions. But in busy practice settings, ADD is often inaccurately diagnosed and prematurely treated with medication. This should be a treatment of very last resort in preschoolers, reserved for those with the most severe problems and delivered by those with the greatest expertise."

While these guidelines are undoubtedly well-intended, the fear is how they'll be implemented in busy, real-world practices.

A poll on Pediatrics Consultant Live is gathering pediatricians' opinions about the change.

"It's not at all unusual for clinical authorities to issue guidelines that trouble practicing physicians," said UBM Medica SVP of Content and Strategy, Pamela Moore. "We've seen it just this month with changes to prostate screening guidelines and now ADHD. Sites like Psychiatric Times and Pediatrics Consultant Live allow the debates to happen, allow the rifts in medicine to be revealed, so that physicians and patients get the real story. Medicine is complex. Better outcomes are hard. There's no sense in papering over real debates in medicine."

About UBM Medica

Addressing today's healthcare information needs, UBM Medica, a division of UBM plc (UBM.L), delivers strategic, integrated communications solutions and comprehensive reach—online, in print, live, and via custom programs. Improving the effectiveness of healthcare through information and education, UBM Medica provides unbiased clinical, practical, and business information for physicians, providers, payers, and patients around the world. Through journals, magazines, websites, drug databases, data services, live events, and other valuable resources, UBM Medica also delivers comprehensive communication solutions for the pharmaceutical and related industries. US websites include,,,,, and  Employing more than 1,400 people with offices in 29 countries, UBM Medica is headquartered in London. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Amy Erdman UBM Medica, 203-523-7041,

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