In reply: Poulton and Nanan question my statement that the role of psychostimulant medication in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) becomes less prominent when the 3-year results of the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (MTA) are taken into account.1 Studies such as the MTA that report dramatic short- to medium-term improvement have, in my experience, increased practitioners’ expectations and reliance on these medications. Their clinical use has gradually widened to preschool-aged children and to the, so far, poorly validated inattentive and impulsive–hyperactive subtypes of ADHD. I observe this increasing the pressure on parents — not necessarily from clinicians — to use stimulants through an emphasis on the consequences of non-treatment, such as underachievement and conduct problems.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.