Get a heart checkup before you get ADHD meds

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, In The News, Alcohol & Drugs

The American Heart Association has issued a new recommendation that children get a complete heart exam before beginning a regimen of drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta. These medicines carry warnings about risks for those with heart defects or other cardiac issues, added after the FDA realized that there had been nineteen reports of sudden death.

The recommendation includes getting an EKG and exploring the child's family history. It's not meant to prevent kids from getting help for their ADHD, however. "We don't want to keep children who have this from being treated. We want to do it as safely as possible." noted Dr. Victoria Vetter who led the committee making the recommendation.

The advocacy group Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) recommends that parents monitor their children when starting a new medicine and agree that EKG screenings "will bring an even further measure of safety to what is already a safe clinical treatment approach."

It seems to me that it certainly can't hurt to be a little extra careful -- or even a lot extra careful, where kids are concerned. I'd have to say that the heart association's recommendation is probably a good one.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.