European Views on Ritalin

European Views on Ritalin

In the United States, we rely on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to analyze the safety of our medications and develop associated regulations. Other areas of the world use different agencies and might therefore have different outlooks on the use of certain drugs. Ritalin is one of many drugs that has been separately reviewed in other continents for its benefits and risks.

What Is Ritalin?

Ritalin is one of the trade names of a drug called methylphenidate. This drug is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and in some cases, a sleep disorder called narcolepsy. Ritalin can be highly effective in treating these conditions, due to its specific ability to increase focus and energy.

Unfortunately, many people abuse Ritalin for a variety of reasons. For example, some people take it in large doses to achieve a stimulating high. Because Ritalin can also increase focus and reduce the need for sleep, others might abuse it as a means of getting ahead in school. Another common reason people misuse Ritalin is to suppress their appetite for weight loss. Long-term use or abuse of this drug often leads to side effects and dependence.

Ritalin in Europe

The use of Ritalin does not come without risks and European governing agencies are well aware of the danger of misuse. Because of the possible health risks associated with this particular drug, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) requested that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) perform a risk-benefit analysis of methylphenidate.

This review concluded that Ritalin’s benefits outweigh the risks, particularly when used in those over the age of six. They found that there was no particular need to further restrict or regulate the use of this drug. However, the CHMP stressed the importance of consistent prescribing information to encourage safe use. Specific diagnostic and evaluative criteria were defined for those who are prescribed Ritalin to treat ADHD. These criteria include the following:

  • Patients should be screened for problems with blood pressure or heart rate prior to prescribing Ritalin
  • Blood pressure and heart rate should be regularly evaluated throughout treatment with Ritalin
  • Patients taking Ritalin for more than a year should have a yearly evaluation to determine if continued treatment is necessary
  • Patients should be screened for other psychiatric disorders prior to treatment, as Ritalin can worsen the symptoms of these disorders
  • Height and weight should be frequently monitored in those using Ritalin

While Ritalin is legal and regularly used to treat ADHD in Europe, it is used much less frequently than in the United States. This may be due to several different factors, but can be partly attributed to the fact that there is a lower ratio of prescribing child psychologists to children in Europe than in the United States. Children and adolescents are most often prescribed Ritalin by a child psychologist and having a lower ratio may contribute to the fewer prescriptions. Because Ritalin can be more difficult to obtain in European countries, ADHD must be managed by simply creating more structure, practicing time management, minimizing distractions, and getting enough exercise and rest. Managing ADHD in this way, rather than using Ritalin, lowers the risk of Ritalin addiction in Europe.

Get Help for Ritalin Addiction

Ritalin abuse and addiction can affect anyone, regardless of where they live. If you or a loved one has become addicted to Ritalin, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatments for Ritalin addiction.