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newsRoundup

Here is the latest news about Concerta generics, along with consumer tips for dealing with the shake-up following the FDA’s downgrading of two generics.

To recap, my previous post reported the FDA downgrading in November 2014 the two Concerta generics, manufactured by Mallinckrodt and Kudco/Kremers-Urban. It was determined that the medication in these products is released more slowly than with brand Concerta, thus creating an inferior response for people who otherwise did well on brand.

Optimal ADHD treatment calls for consistency of medication, and these generics had some folks all over the map.  (My next post will be a curated compendium of their stories.)

These downgraded generics remain on the market—there are no safety issues per se—but no longer are pharmacies allowed to automatically substitute these downgraded generics for brand. For now.

More good news for regular Concerta users:  The marketing deal between Janssen and Watson/Actavis, to distribute the brand as an authorized generic, has been extended through December, 2017.

More about the differences between “true” and “authorized” generics below. Read the rest of this entry »

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970-the-emergent-task-planner-01Do “to-do” lists numb your neurons? Or worse, further scatter your thoughts and objectives?  Yeah, me, too.

Fortunately, there are novel alternatives to the traditional to-do lists.

Always seeking small doorprizes for my Adult ADHD discussion group in Palo Alto, I found these small, inexpensive pads called “The Emergent Task Planner.”

I purchased several sizes, and each was met with delight from the lucky winner (and later reports of actually being used):

Today, I went to re-order a few, and my Google search led me to the website of the planners’ inventor, David Seah, who writes about the system here.

David also shares a free download of another intriguing tool for project-based to-do lists. He calls it “The Task Progress Tracker.” As he writes:

One of the awful things about to-do lists is that you feel reward only when everything is checked-off. This is a distressingly-rare event, and you start to feel bad about not working fast enough.

To free myself from this trap, I made the Task Progress Tracker (TPT). It tracks effort in a useful way, not just done-ness. It also provide a “big picture” view of a project, which helps avoid the ickiness of micro-management. It’s an “I did” list, not a tyranical “to do” list.

more:

The TPT is designed to provide an overview of a project and its subcomponent steps, focusing on problem solving rather than mechanical task completion. It does this by tracking time spent, not tasks completed. This allows you to be mindful at the “intention” level as you work toward solving your problem, which is appropriate when pioneering new processes or doing fundamental research. So long as you’re working, that’s great.

To-do lists have their place as pre-flight lists and reminders. They are also workable for tasks that you know how to complete. When tackling something new, creative, or unknown, I don’t think they don’t work as well; they are like the untrained boss who bugs you every five minutes for results, without caring about how you get them. It’s oppressive!

 Down with oppressive to-do lists! Thank you, David!

Gina Pera

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Online-Diploma-MythsTrue or false?  Individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (for example, visual, auditory or kinesthetic).

This axiom has long been accepted as a “truism” in education. It’s even been fervently promoted by certain self-proclaimed ADHD experts.  But is it true?  The evidence says no.

In fact, many other long-accepted “truisms” in education are being called up short by neuoscientific inquiry. At least one group of researchers is lamenting

  • educators’ paltry training in neuroscience
  • a tendency toward simple explanations, and
  • even a bias toward wishful thinking.

These factors and more contribute to educators continuing to base their teaching philosophies on incorrect assumptions—”neuromyths,” the researchers call them. One surprise in the research: Participants who showed greater general knowledge of the brain also were more likely to believe in the neuromyths. (The exception: participants who read popular-science magazines.) Read the rest of this entry »

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For the 37 years my husband lived without benefit of ADHD diagnosis, he developed many coping strategies. Some of them helpful!  Those mostly had to do with organization.

One strategy was “multiple deployments,” as he called it. That is, stashing duplicates of often-used items (e.g. keys, Swiss Army knives, umbrellas, Chapstick, handkerchiefs) in his backpack, car, jacket pockets, cargo shorts, etc.  This system reduces wasted time and frustration in hunting down these items.

For the pre-diagnosis years of our relationship, I also developed systems, such as installing a white board in the kitchen for important communications and putting labels on the drawers holding home-repair items (e.g. duct tape, sandpaper, wrenches, etc.)

These days, when people ask my advice in addressing their own or their partners’ ADHD-related challenges, I suggest they first focus on organizational strategies.  Perhaps even consulting a professional organizer before seeking therapy or couples counseling.

Yes, therapy can be important. Yes, medication can be foundational. But so many individual problems and “couples troubles” around ADHD stem from chronic disorganization. In fact, in my ADHD Partner Survey, disorganization was the top problem area reported by the partners of adults with ADHD!

In the early days of diagnosis, I find it vital to instill a sense of optimism that life can truly get better. One of the best ways to do that is to immediately focus on environmental strategies and supports.  I shared the story of one couple’s campaign to control clutter here, along with a summary of strategies from ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life

Below, I have highlighted some products on Amazon.com that can help you get organizational traction. Quickly and cost-effectively.

The list is not exhaustive; I plan to highlight specific categories in the future (bedroom, closet, office, etc.).  Right now, the main idea is to get you thinking strategically about problem-solving —”dealing with stuff” and reducing your stress.

Check out my brief captions on each product! Click on any product to place it in your shopping cart. (It might take a second or two to load, and might not work in Google Chrome browser.)

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“We can celebrate the successes of some people with ADHD without misrepresenting ADHD as somehow conveying cognitive gifts or other benefits, which it clearly does not.”

—Russell Barkley, PhD

Understanding complex issues requires complex thought—and tedious research. Yet, the online world skews towards simplistic opinion—and clickbait. While serious ADHD-focused clinical and scientific investigators toil in the trenches, with little time for blogging or writing op-eds (even if The New York Times were interested in legitimate ADHD experts), other folks with more time on their hands tend to dominate the online world.

If one reads only certain self-proclaimed experts, one would never guess the Mack truck-sized holes in their arguments. Worse, these pieces often go “viral.” And, like a virus, their harmful distortions risk insidiously further weakening the public’s understanding of this highly variable condition called ADHD and, thus, many dimensions of public policy.

Countering the logical, factual flaws in many pieces about ADHD online would be a full-time job, so I try to be selective. For example, when a highly problematic piece is published on Scientific American’s site (“The Creative Gifts of ADHD”), that is worrying, even with this tiny, hard-to-find disclaimer:

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

The author reposted the piece a few weeks later on Alternet.org, with an even more provocative clickbait headline: ADHD Brains Are the Most Creative: Why Do We Treat It Like a Disability?

(The headline provides the reader’s first clue that the story following will be binary nonsense: the idea that there are “ADHD brains”—instead of millions of individuals who have various manifestations of a highly variable syndrome, along with endless variations on other human characteristics. By the way. creativity is a human characteristic.)

After I left a comment at Scientific American, I read other comments. To my surprise, Russell Barkley, PhD, a preeminent research scientist in the realm of ADHD, had already left a comment. He has given me permission to re-print it here. Please share this on Facebook, Twitter, in personal e-mails, or whenever you need a solid counter to the online nonsense. Instead of dumbing-down the dialogue around ADHD. we need to constantly work to emphasize the complexities of the human brain.

 Dr. Barkley Responds:

Despite repeated assertions by trade book authors on ADHD, especially in adults, and now the author, Mr. Kaufman, the entire body of evidence available on any link of ADHD with increased creativity does not support such a link. What it does show is that people with ADHD range across the entire spectrum of creativity, variously measured, as does the general population. But there is no significant correlation between ADHD or its symptom severity and increased creativity. Read the rest of this entry »

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victory

The best news! The FDA announced today that the two approved generic versions of Concerta manufactured by Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and Kudco have been downgraded. It’s horrifying that so many people have already been adversely affected, and without warning, not to mention having their concerns dismissed by some pharmacists. “It’s the same as the brand,” some pharmacists said. “No, it’s not!” we said. And the FDA heard us.

You can bet ADHD Roller Coaster readers had much to do with that!  Many of you followed through by filing a complaint with the FDA’s MedWatch program, as I’ve encouraged repeatedly over the past year. (I would share the links but I’m on the road, traveling with a very slow connection, and wanted to get out this news stat!). That form was NOT easy to complete, especially if your meds were underperforming! And I’m sure Dr. Kristen Stuppy, who blogs at Pediatric Partners, is celebrating. She has worked hard to publicize this issue, too.

Congrats and hooray!

The full press release is below, but I’m pulling out this very practical point here for emphasis: Read the rest of this entry »

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Canadian-Maple-Leaf-FlagThis past weekend, I presented at the CADDAC ADHD conference in Vancouver, where I learned that Canadians are dealing with their own generic Concerta.

CADDAC stands for Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada; it is the national advocacy organization. And Heidi Bernhardt’s is the steady hand steering much of the ongoing progress in Canada around ADHD awareness, including organizing conferences and working on public policy. If you live in Canada and have ADHD, be glad that Heidi is in your corner!

We talked about Canada’s challenges with generic Concerta (different manufacturers than in U.S.). When I asked Heidi to provide an update for my blog’s Canadian readers, she responded with this: Read the rest of this entry »

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Following this post, where I provide a little background on the problems with The New York Times viewing ADHD not as a legitimate condition but the juicy pinata of clickbait, here is my friend Dotty’s excellent Letter to the Editor (as yet unpublished).

Dotty, who has ADHD and whose husband has ADHD—both diagnosed in their 30s—writes:

I’m thankful Dr. Richard Friedman laid out the truth about ADHD’s biological roots: It’s something we’re born with. It’s related to brain function and structure. However, his prescription to “treat” our ADHD was to relieve our “boredom”—comparing us to a nomadic Kenyan tribe who needs the stimulation to find food and a mate.

There’s only one problem: Nomadic tribal peoples don’t get to write screenplays. They don’t get to have good teeth. Their kids don’t get antibiotics, or a good education, or even clothing. (There’s no mention of the infant mortality rates. Or how long the adults live. Or even of the smell that they endure every day.) These tribes live every day in “crisis mode,” searching for the next thing that will feed them—just for that day!

Oh, but you don’t want us to actually become nomads; you just want us to be “stimulated” by doing things like running our own businesses. The only problem is that, according to Forbes magazine, 8 out of 10 new businesses fail! Nomads and entrepreneurs don’t make their kill every day, Dr. Friedman. Read the rest of this entry »

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The New York Times has made Sunday a day of un-rest for people with ADHD—and the people who love them. It is always the Sunday edition, with the highest circulation, that features the latest hit piece by non-experts on ADHD. This past Sunday, it was called “A Natural Fix for A.D.H.D.” (My policy is not to encourage this behavior by sharing the link.)

My friend Dotty fired back with a Letter to the Editor, which she has graciously allowed me to share (see next post). But first some background.

Each New York Times ADHD hit-piece artfully includes a few “shiny” facts amidst the dreck. These Trojan horses serve to first beguile and then misinform the non-ADHD savvy public. On Twitter, therapists and newspaper columnists who should know better were re-Tweeting the “Natural Fix”, publicly betraying their own ignorance of the topic.

On Twitter, my friend Michael and I established the hashtag #ADHDClickBait to call out these and other sensationalist pieces. As I wrote in a rebuttal to a disastrous Esquire piece on ADHD a while back:

Esquire joins The New York Times in treating one of the most well-researched and documented conditions in medical history as a piñata. Bash ADHD and all the goodies fall out. Web traffic soars. The immense anti-psychiatry blogosphere races to showcase the latest proof that they’ve been right all along. Esquire actually calls this piece a “blockbuster investigation” — just in case the ASME judges missed it.

Lost in the shuffle: Accurate reporting on a critically important public health issue affecting millions of Americans. Read the rest of this entry »

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bookclubI’m very excited to announce a new “book club” as a weekly feature of this ADHD Roller Coaster blog. The first book in the series is the one I know best:  Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?   This book club will be free, fun, and illuminating—plus there is a chance each week to win a copy of the book. It will be helpful if you have read or listened to my book first (so you can better contribute!), but it’s not necessary.

The goal is simple: To provide a far-flung forum for discussing book-inspired epiphanies and broadening everyone’s understanding of Adult ADHD. My book covers a lot of ground, and it’s a very dense book—no fluff! Contrary to the common perception, it is not a book about ADHD and relationships. I designed it to be one-stop shopping for adults with ADHD and their loved ones for “stopping the roller coaster” of ADHD fallout in their lives. (See chapter list at the end of this post.)

A book fan-turned-friend has offered to ringlead, and you will be hearing more from Dotty soon. She’s a fantastic writer, and she knows this topic from many personal angles.

Book Giveaway: Each week, anyone making a comment will be eligible for a book giveaway contest. (Yes, one copy of my book will be awarded each week!) Read the rest of this entry »

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