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New Guidelines For GP’s Revolutionise Treatment For Hyperactivity Disorders

New guidelines published this month (January 2007) in the Journal of Psychopharmacology will help to treat ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), a condition that is traditionally associated with children but which is now increasing in adults.

The guidelines will provide authoritative information to health professionals at a time when there is currently great uncertainty amongst GPs on how to treat the condition.

ADHD in the population is considered to be about four per cent making it a common disorder. There are no licensed drugs for managing ADHD specifically in adults, leading to uncertainty amongst health professionals on how best to treat these new cases. Yet drugs licensed for related conditions have proven to be effective.

The British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP) guidelines provide the appropriate evidence and experience to permit health professionals to use unlicensed medicines if the clinical need cannot be met by licensed medicines, as advised by the British National Formulary (BNF).

“Treatment relieves suffering for the patient and family, and also alleviates social costs in unemployment, crime, incarceration, smoking, substance use and driving accidents”, said Professor David Nutt from the BAP consensus group. “This information needs to be addressed by the NHS so that resources can be redirected to provide appropriate and evidence-based care for adults with ADHD.”

The BAP guidelines on adult ADHD are based on expert opinion derived from childhood evidence. It is the first time that guidelines for ADHD in adults, and in adolescents in transition to adult services, have been published and arrive at a time when they can influence the new specialist services that the NHS is establishing in response to this growing need.

Juliet Upton | alfa
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