No Link Found Between ADHD Drugs and Heart Problems

Filed under: In The News, Special Needs, Health & Safety: Big Kids, Health & Safety: Tweens, Health & Safety: Teens, Health

ADHD drugs

WebMD reports kids who take drugs for ADHD are not at a greater risk for heart attacks or strokes. Credit: Getty Images

If you're bombing with your child with meds to control his hyperactivity and short attention span, you might have worried all those chemicals were sending him to an early grave.

Well, relax.

WebMD reports kids who take Adderall, Ritalin, Strattera and all the other trendy drugs for ADHD are no more likely to keel over on the playground than other children.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine looked at the number of people on ADHD meds who have heart attacks, stroke and abnormal heart rhythms and compared them to the rates among the rest of the population. WebMD reports they didn't find any big differences.

Officials at the U.S. Federal Drug Administration announced early last month they are doing their own study that should prove "reassuring," but those results haven't been released yet.

"Until the final FDA results are published, our study should provide some additional reassurance," lead University of Pennsylvania researcher Sean Hennessy tells WebMD. "One of the most important findings was that the risk of death was no higher in kids taking these drugs."

Some 2.7 million children and teenagers in the United States take Adderall, Ritalin, Strattera or other drugs for ADHD, according to WebMD.

Some the drugs increase blood pressure and heart rates in children. Reports of sudden cardiac death in children led to labeling changes for some of the drugs, warning parents of possible cardiovascular risk in patients with heart problems.

But WebMD reports University of Pennsylvania researchers found no connection between heart attacks, strokes and ADHD medications. In fact, they couldn't so much as one cardiovascular incident in the insurance claims they pored over from California, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio.

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