ADD Meds Prescribed For Weight Loss

Doctors are using Adderall for pediatric obesity, pleasing parents but raising ethical alarms
By Greg Atwan,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2007 10:12 AM CDT

Pediatricians are giving Adderall, the pill that got America's kids to pay attention in class, to patients without ADHD but looking to shed extra pounds. One of the drug's side effects is appetite suppression, and "off-label" prescriptions are working for some chunky but otherwise normal teenagers. Parents worried about obesity and teasing are delighted, but some doctors are worried.

"It's morally and medically questionable," says John Lantos, a pediatrics professor at the University of Chicago. There may be less abstract dangers, too: ADHD meds can cause "sudden death" for patients with pre-existing heart problems, and has been known to cause serious psychological damage. (More ADHD stories.)

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