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NICE publishes guidance on ADHD

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The drug methylphenidate (Ritalin) should not be given to pre-school children, according to latest NICE guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, published last week.

Instead, healthcare professionals should refer parents to education programmes as the first-line of treatment. Trusts should ensure such programmes are developed by their specialist ADHD teams, the institute said.

However, methylphenidate is recommended as the first-line treatment for school-age children and young people with severe ADHD, but only as part of a ‘comprehensive treatment plan that includes psychological, behavioural and educational advice and interventions’.

Dr Gillian Leng, NICE deputy chief executive, said: ‘This guideline, which is published during ADHD awareness week, is the first guideline to address the diagnosis and management of ADHD within both clinical and education settings.

‘At its heart is the recognition of the importance of establishing a multidisciplinary team, including the person with ADHD, their family and their teachers in order to help support the person with ADHD achieve their full potential,’ she said.

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