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In the long run, skills are as good as pills for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Joseph M Rey
Med J Aust 2008; 189 (5): 295-296.
Published online: 1 September 2008

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.

  • Joseph M Rey

  • University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: jmrey@bigpond.net.au

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