Ritalin should not be routinely prescribed for children and should never be given to those under five, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has advised.

Training for parents and education programmes should be offered before any other treatment, the guidelines say.

In July, HSJ revealed there is a 23-fold difference in the rate at which children in different parts of England are prescribed Ritalin and similar drugs to control their behaviour.

For the full guidelines, go to www.nice.org.uk