A metro Atlanta doctor and his controversial view on prescribing Adderall to elementary school students is hitting the national spotlight.
Dr. Michael Anderson, of Cherokee County, was the focus of a New York Times article, characterized as being flippant about the ADHD diagnosis and the drug prescribed to treat it.
Anderson calls his view practical, not controversial.
"You need to separate the other concerns you have, personal concerns, and put the patients concerns forefront," Anderson said.
Anderson runs what you might call a mom and pop doctors office in Canton. More and more elementary school age patients are leaving with an ADHD diagnosis, and a prescription for the drug Adderall or something similar. Anderson calls ADHD a simple diagnosis, one many students can fall into.
"It is very common sense. If you lose things and can't finish your work, can't pay attention, your mind seems wandering, it seems like rephrasing the idea over and over again," Anderson said.
He thinks budget constraints on the part of parents and school districts leads to tough choices, especially for low-income families.
"Right now the choice is suffer with school failure, that's bad, or take a medicine that the FDA lists, and appropriately so, as worrisome. So the parent, the doctor, the teacher are all boxed in a situation where they're put in a choice between two not necessarily perfect straightforward options," Anderson said.
Anderson said he is concerned with the long-term effects the drug could have on patients.
"Of course I am. We don't know, and my organization tells me this is the safe and preferred way to treat people. I see people getting better with their problem," Anderson said.
Anderson doesn't think he's overprescribing the medication, and believes the consequences of not doing it are far greater.
"Nobody's happy about doing this. I'm not happy about doing this, but I am pleased to be able to offer something, something that helps," Anderson said.
Anderson said he prescribes the medication for about 10 percent of his patients.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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