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Attention Deficit Disorder Drugs & Weight Loss

Could drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder also be used for weight loss? Some doctors think so.

ADHD drugs like Ritalin can potentially cause weight loss. That much is well-documented in the medical literature. In fact, one drug that treats ADHD was first approved 20 years ago as an anti-obesity drug.

ADHD drugs may be the diet drug of the future. They're widely available and considered safe by the FDA. Your child may already be taking them.

Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin and Adderall are used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. But they also suppress appetite.

"The literature says that appetite suppression is one of the most common side effects of these medications," said Dr. Eugene Hershorin, a pediatric ADHD expert. Dr. Hershorin said up to 22 percent of kids on low doses of the drugs lose weight without even trying.

"They actually lower their body mass index to a more normal level and then begin to gain weight again along a normal growth curve," said Dr. Hershorin.

Like the currently available anti-obesity drugs, ADHD stimulants give the patient a feeling of fullness. But the ADHD drugs go a step further, driving up metabolic rate, and burning more calories.

There's a downside to considering the ADHD drugs for weight loss. They can be habit-forming and raise a patients blood pressure and heart rate. That's makes the choice tough for obese people who already face high blood pressure.

Source: Kirov.tv.com July 4, 2003

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