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Time to pay attention to ADHD treatment.



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ROGER PRICE MP Federal Member for Chifley

MEDIA RELEASE 23 November, 2004

Time to pay attention to ADHD treatment

Federal Member for Chifley, Roger Price MP, has called on the Federal Government to investigate the diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

According to a report prepared by the Parliamentary Library, Chifley has one of the nation’s highest rates of prescribing dexamphetamine sulfate - a psycho-stimulant used to treat ADHD.

“Medication for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): an analysis by Federal Electorate (201 - 2003) shows that of all 150 Australian electorates, Chifley is ranked 21st for the dispensing of dexamphetamine sulfate. This is the highest of any federal Electorate in NSW,” Mr Price said.

“In 2003, there were 2,995 dexamphetamine sulfate prescriptions dispensed in Chifley. This is more than double the rate of several neighbouring electorates: there were 1,148 prescriptions in Greenway (70th) last year, 834 in Parramatta (104), and 716 in Prospect (115).

“There is no real explanation for these disparities. Socio-economic factors don’t appear to play a role in the varying rates of prescriptions, so the Federal Government must get to the bottom of this mystery. Amazingly, it is refusing to undertake any inquiry.

“The gap becomes even wider when you look at the figures across Australia.

“Western Australia has the 14 highest prescription rates in the nation, with the electorate of Canning coming in at number one, with 8,573 prescriptions last year. This is in stark contrast to Lingiari in the Northern Territory, which had the fewest prescriptions - 153 - last year.

“These figures raise a number of questions. Are some practitioners better skilled to diagnose ADHD? Or is it being over-diagnosed? Either way, we need to ensure that there is a standard practice in diagnosing and treating the disorder.

“It would be awful if we were over-medicating children.

“While it is important to combat ADHD, many health professionals recommend a multidisciplinary approach. This may incorporate pharmaceutical treatment as well as diet, behaviour management and educational strategies.

“There are other concerns that also need to be addressed: some medical experts believe that more research into the long-term safety of the drug is required.

“The evidence in this report suggests that there needs to be a thorough analysis of the way in which ADHD is diagnosed and treated,” Mr Price said.

ADHD is defined as a persistent pattern of inattentive behaviour and/or hyperactivity impulsivity that affects children and adolescents. It is believed to affect between 2.3 and 6 per cent of school children.

Contact Jehane Sharah on 9625 4344 or 0417 416 144