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FDA Questions Effectiveness of Generic ADHD Drugs

Apr 10, 2015

Generic medications are supposed to work just as well as their brand name counterparts, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has raised skepticism about whether or not this is true for some products. In particular, the agency announced last November that two generic medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may not be as effective.

Patients with ADHD often have difficulty staying focused and paying attention, controlling behavior and exhibit hyperactivity. It is one of the most common childhood disorders and in some cases can persist into adulthood. ADHD is frequently treated with stimulant medications, such as Ritalin.

CBS News reports on how generic ADHD medications seemed to affect 17-year-old Emily Hingle. According to CBS, Emily had been taking the generic version of Concerta to manage her ADHD. The drug, which is a long-acting version of Ritalin, had helped her focus. However, the situation changed. "One teacher in particular like told me that I had senioritis and that I was slacking, but I knew that I was not like doing this on purpose," Emily said to CBS News. Her mother told CBS "Emily's grades dropped significantly,"

Emily has since changed to a different medication. She told CBS that it is working effectively and that her grades have improved. "It was like a weight had been taken off my shoulders," she said.

The FDA raised questions about whether or not two generic versions of Concerta were equally effective, or "therapeutically equivalent" to the brand-name. The generics may not have the same benefits, the agency said.

"Two of these generics, so to speak, were not exactly providing the same rate and extent of absorption of medicine that Concerta had," said Dr. Andrew Adesman of Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical, according to CBS.

The generic manufacturers have been given 6 months to show that their products are effective or voluntarily remove them from the market.

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