No heart attack risk from attention-deficit drugs: study
A major study of more than one million children and young adults has shown no higher risk of heart attack among those who take drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a US study said Tuesday.
Ritalin and similar medicines that millions of children and teens take to curb hyperactivity and boost attention do not raise their risk of serious heart problems, the largest safety study of these drugs concludes.
Heart attacks, strokes and sudden death were very rare and no more common in children on the drugs than in kids not taking them, the federally funded study found. That was true even for children and young adults with a higher risk of heart problems - a group doctors have long worried about when prescribing these drugs.
"This study would suggest that their risk is remarkably low. And that's good news," said the study's leader, Dr. William Cooper, a pediatrics and preventive medicine professor at Vanderbilt University.
"Parents should be very reassured," said Dr. Laurel Leslie, a pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston who had no role in the study but served on a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel examining drugs for ADHD, or attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.
The study was sponsored by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the FDA. Results were published online Tuesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. Results from similar studies of these medicines in adults are expected soon.
More than 5 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD, which hampers a child's ability to pay attention and control behavior. Although it seems counterintuitive, stimulant medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta and Strattera can help these children, and about 2.7 million of them are prescribed such drugs each year.
However, isolated reports of heart attacks and strokes in kids taking the drugs caused worry, and the Canadian government curbed use of one drug in 2006. The FDA added a black box warning to some ADHD drugs, and the American Heart Association gave the controversial advice in 2008 that it was reasonable to screen a child starting on such a drug with a heart EKG test.
"There's such strong feelings around these drugs" and whether they are overused in children who might be helped by behavioral therapy alone, Cooper said. "The potential safety questions have added another layer of concern."
His study was aimed at resolving the safety question. Researchers used medical records from four big health plans covering more than 1.2 million people ages 2 through 24. They found 81 cases of serious heart problems from 1998 through 2005 among all people in the study.
Those on ADHD medicines were no more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or sudden death than were non-users or former users of such drugs. More than half of children and young adults taking ADHD drugs used methylphenidate - generic Ritalin - and researchers saw no increased risk from that specific drug either.
"The good news is that it doesn't look like overall, there's an increase in cardiovascular events in kids who are on ADHD drugs," said Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, a Johns Hopkins University heart specialist and president of the American Heart Association. "The question parents should be asking themselves is, `Does my child really need this?'"
Cooper, the study's leader, and Leslie, the Boston pediatrician, defended the drugs' use, especially with careful medical monitoring and behavioral therapy.
"I take care of kids all the time who are helped by these drugs," Cooper said.
FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh said stimulants "should generally not be used in patients with serious heart problems, or for whom an increase in blood pressure or heart rate would be problematic."
Patients on ADHD medications also should be watched for changes in heart rate or blood pressure, she said.
The drugs cost from $40 to $100 a month.
More information: Study: www.nejm.org
©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- No increase in severe cardiovascular events for children, adolescents taking ADHD medications May 16, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- FDA urges caution in weighing risks of ADHD drugs Jun 15, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Children with ADHD should get heart tests before treatment with stimulant drugs Apr 21, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Mutant gene linked to ADHD Apr 18, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- ADHD symptoms worsen quality of life for individuals with autism Sep 19, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
A new report suggests that improved health care and significant reductions in drug costs might be attained by breaking up the age-old relationship between physicians and drug company representatives who promote the newest, ...
Medications 41 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Federal health regulators say an experimental insomnia drug from Merck can help patients fall asleep, but it also carries worrisome side effects, including daytime drowsiness and suicidal thinking.
Medications 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—Former Navy Secretary Richard J. Danzig, who has served as a bio-warfare adviser to the president, the Pentagon, and the Department of Homeland Security, urged the government to stockpile an anti-anthrax drug while ...
Medications 8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Europe's medicines watchdog said Friday the benefits of acne drug Diane-35, also widely used as a contraceptive, outweigh the risk of developing blood clots in the veins—when correctly prescribed.
Medications May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Switzerland's Cytos Biotechnology AG today announced that the first healthy volunteer has been dosed in a Phase 1 clinical trial with their ...
Medications May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
New research from the University of Southampton has shown that blind and visually impaired people have the potential to use echolocation, similar to that used by bats and dolphins, to determine the location of an object.
56 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
While the effects of acute stroke have been widely studied, brain damage during the subacute phase of stroke has been a neglected area of research. Now, a new study by the University of South Florida reports that within a ...
39 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
As high schoolers prepare for final exams, teens nationwide may be tempted to use a "study drug"—a prescription stimulant or amphetamine—to gain an academic edge. But a new University of Michigan poll shows only one in ...
3 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Food microbiology laboratories continue to submit false negative results and false positive results on a routine basis. A retrospective study of nearly 40,000 proficiency test results over the past 14 years, presented today ...
27 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Posterior fossa subdural hematoma (PFSDH) is a serious and rare condition in newborns, generally occurring after difficult deliveries. But with appropriate treatment, there's an excellent chance of good long-term outcomes ...
31 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
National guidelines recommend that at-risk women be screened for elevated cholesterol levels to reduce their chances of developing cardiovascular disease. But who is 'at risk?' The results of a study by investigators ...
40 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0