Proven ADHD Treatment Denied Access to Patients in Canada

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ - Canadian families continue to face challenges in
managing ADHD effectively. The Common Drug Review (CDR) has restricted access
to a clinically proven and effective Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(ADHD) treatment option. The CDR, responsible for formulary listing
recommendations to publicly funded provincial drug plans in Canada, has
recommended that Adderall XR, a long acting once-daily medication, not be
added to provincial formulary plans, thus limiting access to this treatment
    ADHD affects approximately five to twelve percent of all school-age
children(1). Although many people tend to think of ADHD as a childhood
problem, up to 66 per cent of children still exhibit symptoms into adulthood.
It is considered one of the most commonly diagnosed neurological disorders
among school-aged children(2).
    The Centre for ADHD/ADD Advocacy, Canada (CADDAC) is disappointed in the
CDR decision and would have appreciated that patient based criteria be used in
the review process. Many of the common symptoms of ADHD, inattention,
disorganization, losing things and forgetfulness, make it extremely difficult
for children and adults with ADHD to consistently take medication three times
a day at regular hours," said Heidi Bernhardt, National Director of CADDAC.
"Expecting schools to take on the role of medical care providers and dispense
controlled medication safely and consistently is unrealistic and results in
ineffective treatment for this highly treatable condition. CADDAC encourages
each of the provinces to invest in providing access to all once-a-day
    The CDR decision ignores important information about the medications used
to treat ADHD. Long acting medications work better for patients, as they
provide a smooth and sustained effect, allow more flexibility for patients,
and avoid the stigmatization that can occur when children and youth must take
ADHD medications during school hours. Moreover, the response to medication
type varies among individuals, and prescribing physicians need to be able to
adjust the medication type and schedule to get the best fit for each patient.
Some patients respond to methylphenidate compounds while others respond
preferentially to amphetamine compounds and still others require medications
that have a different mechanism of action. If all long acting compounds are
not available many patients will not receive the treatment they need.
Clinicians believe the best way to treat ADHD is by using a combination of
therapies, such as education on ADHD for parents and adults, school
accommodations and medication when required. A clinical trial found that
therapies that include carefully monitored medication are more effective than
those that do not, such as behavioral therapy alone(3).
    "Some of our patients can afford these treatments and some cannot," said
Dr. Margaret Weiss, CADDRA Board Member expert and Director of Research,
Division of Child Psychiatry and Clinical Professor at the University of
British Columbia. "Failure of the government to provide access to long acting
medication for ADHD for those who cannot afford it is costly. The cost is born
by the patient who remains impaired, by the families trying to support the
patient, and by the tax payer. We pay for untreated ADHD with tax dollars in
health, education, motor vehicle accidents and unemployment. It makes more
sense to treat the disorder and prevent the consequences than to pay for the
damages of failure to treat after the fact," Dr. Weiss further said.

    (1) CADDAC. ADHD Facts - Dispelling the Myths.
    (2) Weiss G, Hechtman L, Milroy T, Perlman T. Psychiatric Status of
        Hyperactives as Adults: A Controlled Prospective 15-Year Follow-up of
        63 Hyperactive Children. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.
        1985; 24:211-220.
    (3) The MTA Cooperative Group. A 14-Month Trial of Treatment Strategies
        for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry.
        1999; 56:1073-1086.

    About CADDAC

    CADDAC is a not-for-profit organization that provides leadership in
education and advocacy for ADHD organizations and individuals with ADHD across
Canada. CADDAC provides a wide-range of information for children, parents,
doctors and educators on their website

    About CADDRA

    The Canadian Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Resource Alliance,
is a national independent not-for-profit association of doctors who support
patients and their families, who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD). As leaders in the field, CADDRA members conduct research,
treat patients, and design practice guidelines for ADHD.

For further information:

For further information: or to schedule an interview: Rob McEwan, Argyle
Communications, (416) 968-7311 ext 242,

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