Monday, January 2, 2012

"No heart attack risk" from ADHD drugs

Posted: 13 December 2011

Pills
WASHINGTON: Most adults do not face a higher risk of heart attack when taking stimulant medications to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, US researchers said on Monday.

The study is the largest and among the first to look specifically at the risks of taking ADHD drugs for people aged 25-64, and is published in an early online version of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Previous studies have shown that some ADHD drugs can raise blood pressure and heart rate, but follow-up research has been unable to find any higher risk of death or major complications.

A separate study last month in the New England Journal of Medicine found no higher risk among youths aged two to 24 who take stimulant medications like Ritalin, after concerns were raised years ago about potential links.

The JAMA observational study, funded by the US Food and Drug Administration and the Agency for Health Research Quality, was based on pharmacy data and medical records for 150,000 people at four clinical sites in the United States.

Comparing those who used the drugs to those who did not, and honing on one the specific subgroups of ADHD drugs, researchers found no higher risk of heart attack, sudden cardiac death or stroke.

However, the study did have some limitations, such as spanning a relatively short period -- about one year -- and excluding people over 65.

"It's important to note that this is an observational study and not a randomised clinical trial," said lead author Laurel Habel, a research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research.

The drugs included in the study were stimulants such as methylphenidate, dextroamphetamines, amphetamine salts and pemoline; and the non-stimulant atomoxetine.

All were labelled for treatment of ADHD in children or adults as of December 31, 2005.

According to the latest FDA data from 2005, about 1.5 million US adults are taking ADHD medication. Of all the US prescriptions issued to children and adults, grownups account for nearly one third.

- AFP/wk



Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
"No heart attack risk" from ADHD drugs

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