The Drake Institute of Behavioral Medicine

Ritalin and Prozac: Safe for Children


Irvine, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/25/2013 --A study in the Journal of Neuroscience, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, raises disturbing unanswered questions about the possible risks of the combination of methylphenidate (Ritalin) and fluoxetine (Prozac) in children. The Los Angeles Times reported that 40% of children who are diagnosed with either ADHD or Depression will eventually be diagnosed with both disorders in childhood/adolescense and many of them will be taking both of these drugs.

There are always uncertainties in applying findings in animal studies directly to humans. However, the findings in this study certainly raise more concern about the potential or possible risks of these combinations of drugs in children whose immature brains are still developing. In this studyb young rats were given the combination of these two drugs and the results suggested that "combining methylphenidate and fluoxetine early in life may lead to lifelong behavioral and chemical abnormalities". The combination of the two drugs in childhood produced the signs of a tendency towards addictions in adulthood, and more frequently symptoms of depression (hopelessness and pessimism).

The child's developing immature brain is much more vulnerable to drugs and we do not know the long term effects. There are ADHD children who may need to be medicated sometimes, but the Drake Institute's view is that in children, whose brains and cardiovascular systems are still developing, the drugs should be the last option and used for the shortest period of time that is absolutely necessary.

At the Drake Institute the initial diagnostic brainmap is done with the child off stimulant medication (other medications such as antidepressants or mood stabilizers should not be discontinued for the brainmap). Once the brainmap is completed , I advise parents to put the child back on stimulant medication if necessary. They remain on their medications to begin treatment with brainmap guided neurofeedback. If medication is discontinued abruptly before their brain has developed more normalized brain functioning from neurofeedback, then their symptoms will resurface. Remember that the medications are only temporarily suppressing their symptoms. The medications are not correcting the dysregulation of brain functioning that is causing the symptoms.

On the positive side most patients can begin having their medications titrated down once they are midway through the treatment program. Throughneurofeedback treatment at the Drake Institute, the brain is able to strengthen the weak areas or functional systems that were causing the symptoms, consequently medications become more and more unnecessary. It takes 10-15 neurofeedback treatments at Drake Institute of the 32 treatment sessions for the brain to improve brain functioning whereby the medications can start being reduced. Most patients will have had their medications significantly reduced or eliminated entirely by the completion of thier treatment. However, it is done gradually, and again beginning midway through treatment. All titrations are conducted by the medical director, David Velkoff, M.D.

About The Drake Institute
Drake Institute has evolved into the most experienced treatment facility worldwide, using the medical technology for which we are known. Thirty years and and over 12,000 individuals have been treated whose symptoms were approached by mobilizing resources within the patient to resolve their disorders.