NHS to ban Ritalin for under-fives?
September 4, 2000 2:43 AM   Subscribe

NHS to ban Ritalin for under-fives? See, I agree with this, but it's politically divisive. The commission on clinical excellence has made a couple of controversial decisions to restrict the prescription of expensive new drugs: Allegra for flu, beta-interferon for MS, and now Ritalin. When there's such demand for the latest and greatest drugs, fuelled by the marketing budgets of the pharmaceutical companies, how do we balance the hopes and wishes of patients against the economic restrictions and clinical scepticism of the authorities?
posted by holgate (4 comments total)
You don't. You made the choice to let your government tell you what health care you're allowed to have, so now, well, your government is telling you what health care you're allowed to have.
posted by aaron at 9:28 AM on September 4, 2000

Which I agree with. After all, I'd rather have doctors telling me what health care we're allowed to have than Glaxo Wellcome's spin doctors.
posted by holgate at 11:54 AM on September 4, 2000

I'd rather have my personal doctor - who has examined me personally and knows my medical history - telling me whether or not a given drug would be of benefit, rather than a committee of doctors 1000 miles away, who have never even heard of me, arbitrarily deciding that no one shall ever be allowed to even consider certain medications.
posted by aaron at 4:51 PM on September 4, 2000

The headline says "ban". The article text says "caution" and "strict guidelines", which is entirely different.

My parents are raising three of my brother's kids (10, 11, and 11), all of whom are now on Ritalin, the two girls are on another drug, and the older girl is also on lithium. Overmedicated? Maybe, but they waited a long time before going the drug route, and there's tons of intervention, therapy, and social mentoring going on as well. (The boy just spent a day at middle school last week with his teacher ... BEFORE classes started.)

I'm sure in extreme cases it will still be able to be prescribed. The key is making sure that it's used only when other alternatives are exhausted, especially with such young children. The risk is enormous.

I speak here as someone with a moderately messed-up brain chemical system.

Aaron, that "personal doctor" stuff is noble and I know what you're saying, but the fact is, no one doctor is capable of knowing everything about the medical ramifications of even one single drug. We also have an FDA, you know.
posted by dhartung at 10:29 PM on September 4, 2000

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