LONDON The UK's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) — which produces guidance for the National Health Service (NHS) on medicines, on the basis of clinical and cost effectiveness — has recommended that the use of methylphenidate (Ritalin/Equasyn) is appropriate for the treatment of severe Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But it has cautioned that the amphetamine should only be prescribed after diagnosis of ADHD by a specialist and as part of a comprehensive treatment programme, with regular monitoring.

The NICE guidance clarifies how ADHD should be diagnosed and when Ritalin should be given. This should overcome concerns about the potential for overuse of Ritalin, which has resulted in legal actions in the US alleging that the manufacturer, Novartis, together with the American Psychiatric Association, has encouraged over-diagnosis of behavioural disorders in children. The company has denied this, calling the charges "unfounded and preposterous."

The NICE guidelines recommend that ADHD should...

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