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Ritalin

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 26 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has commissioned into alternatives to the use of Ritalin in the treatment of children. [17053]

Ritalin can be used as a treatment for attention deficit disorder (ADD) in cases when medication is considered to be appropriate. Ritalin has been subjected to controlled trials and can be effective when given to the right children. Other types of medication can also be used as alternative or complementary treatment but Ritalin is the most comprehensively researched medication and is usually considered to be the drug of choice. It should be used under the supervision of a specialist in childhood behavioural disorders as part of a comprehensive treatment programme, which also includes psychological, educational and social measures, to stabilise children with a behavioural syndrome.The Department of Health has not commissioned any research into alternatives to the use of Ritalin in the treatment of children. The main agency through which the Government supports medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council. The MRC supports a number of studies into the causes and treatment of ADD, but is not currently supporting any research into pharmacological interventions. However, the MRC always welcomes high quality applications for support into any aspect of attention deficit disorder and these are judged in open competition with other demands on funding. Awards are made according to their scientific quality and importance to human health.