ADHD Medicine Doesn’t Increase Kids’ Heart Risk

Andrew Adesman, MD

Stimulant medications are generally viewed as the safest and most effective medications for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Several years ago, concerns were raised about the possibility of a small but increased risk of sudden cardiac death among children and adolescents treated with stimulant medication for ADHD. Although subsequent analyses suggested that there is no increased risk, patients and clinicians have remained cautious about these medications from a cardiac standpoint.

In this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, a team of researchers present findings from their analysis of an extraordinarily large sample (1.2 million children and young adults) with respect to ADHD drugs and serious cardiovascular events. This new study once again fails to find an association between treatment with stimulant medication and sudden cardiac death, myocardial infarction or stroke. Although the authors acknowledge that they cannot rule out a modest increase in risk, the data are overall quite reassuring, especially considering that they did not exclude children with congenital heart disease--a group presumed to be at increased cardiovascular risk--from the analyses.

In short, this study provides additional reassurance to families and clinical practitioners that stimulant medications like Concerta, Full Post - to Detail View

ADHD a Risk Factor in Kids' Pedestrian Accidents

Andrew Adesman, MD

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder-combined type (ADHD-C) choose riskier pedestrian environments to cross within, according to a new study published in Pediatrics. Unintentional injury is the leading cause of pediatric mortality, and a leading cause of unintentional injury is pedestrian injury.

Kids with developmental disabilities, particularly those with ADHD-C, seem to have increased pedestrian injury risk. While kids with ADHD-C seem to display appropriate curbside pedestrian behavior, they don’t adequately process information to permit crossing safely, according to the journal.

This study reinforces the notion that kids with ADHD are more at risk in certain situations. In fact, this study may underestimate the extent of the problem: If kids are in a distraction-free setting and they still show more risk-related behavior, it may be an underestimate.

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