The FDA have approved an ‘ADHD candy’ for kids that comes in the form of sweet, chewy amphetamine-based ‘treats’. The drug has been dubbed ‘kiddie cocaine’ due to its addictive and overly appealing design.
Adzenys will replace traditional Ritalin and Adderrall, and have been deliberately designed to appeal to children suffering from Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by making them chewable and fruit-flavoured.
Adzenys is an extended-release dissolvable amphetamine, the active ingredient in drugs like Adderall. It comes in six dose strengths, ranging from 3.1 mg to 18.8 mg. Adzenys was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January for patients six years and older, and has been stirring up controversy while it’s brought to market.
CEO Vipin Garg of Neos Therapeutics, the Dallas-based company behind the drug, saidthey’ve been busy trying to get “ahead of back-to-school season. We’re launching now at full speed.” Pun intended?
Garg said that Neos’ 125 sales reps have had “no problem” scheduling appointments with interested doctors. The rationale behind the chewable formulation came from reports of children not enjoying the act of swallowing a pill. Some doctors view it as a convenient way to give children the drugs they need, according to STAT.
But reactions are mixed. ADHD is believed by many to be recklessly over-diagnosed, leaving children unnecessarily medicated, which makes the idea of a candy version of Adderall unpalatable.
Dr. Alexander Papp, a psychiatrist affiliated with University of California, San Diego, called the chewable formula “an orally disintegrating amphetamine for kids by the morally disintegrating FDA,” he told STAT. “What’s next?” Papp lamented. “Gummy bears?”
Delivering amphetamines in a sweetened, chewy mechanism is “a recipe for people to request it and then sell it,” Dr. Mukund Gnanadesikan, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in Napa, California, told STAT. “I’m not a big fan of controlled substances that come in forms that can be easily abused—and certainly a chewable drug falls into that category,” he added.
However questionable the drug may sound, there are adults and children who benefit from stimulant medications. “There’s nothing revolutionary about this drug,” said Dr. Ben Biermann, an assistant professor of psychiatry at University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. “It’s simply another delivery mechanism for a medication that already exists and has widespread use.”