ADHD drugs safe for adults

Diane Alter – AHN News Reporter

Oakland, CA, United States (AHN) – Drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder, including Ritalin and Adderall, are safe for adults’ hearts even though they can increase blood pressure and heart rate, a new study finds.

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA., found in a review of health records for more than 440,000 adults aged 25 to 64 that those taking ADHD drugs had about the same number of heart attacks, strokes and sudden heart attack deaths as adults who did not use those drugs.

More than 150,000 medication users in the study were from all over the United States. The data compared their health patterns with similar adults who did not use ADHD drugs over a span of 20 years.

The researchers found that overall there were 1,357 heart attacks, 575 strokes and 296 sudden cardiac attests. Roughly an equal amount of numbers were found in ADHD users and nonusers.

Participants in the study used the drugs for an average of less than a year, with an upper range of 14 years. There was no increased risk with longer use.

ADHD is usually thought of as a condition in childhood, but many continue to have symptoms as adults, including impulsive, fidgety behavior, and difficulty focusing or paying attention.

More than 1.5 million U.S. adults were taking drugs used for ADHD in 2005. The study also found that use of ADHD drugs in adults increased more rapidly than in children over the past 10 years.

The findings, which will be published in the American Medical Association’s print edition on Dec. 28, supports the Food and Drug Administration’s decision in 2006 against putting a black box warning about serious heart events on ADHD drug labels.

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