London Observer 
May 6, 2012
Prescriptions of Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have quadrupled in a decade, prompting fears it is being pushed on children at the expense of alternative treatments and without appreciation of long-term effects.
Figures released by the NHS business services authority to the Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt reveal the number of prescriptions of methylphenidate hydrochloride, the generic name for Ritalin, rose in England from 158,000 in 1999 to 661,463 in 2010.
Ritalin is a psychostimulant drug most commonly approved for treatment of ADHD in children. It is also used to treat conditions such as narcolepsy and in certain cases may also be prescribed for lethargy, depression and obesity.
The Association of Educational Psychologists said its members were reporting an increase in children with behavioural difficulties being prescribed the drug in conjunction with antidepressants, despite the fact there was “little to no evidence about the effect which these cocktails of drugs are having on the development of children’s brains”.