Study Of Possible Heart Risks With ADHD Medications

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Two U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies will collaborate in the most comprehensive study to date of prescription medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the potential for increased risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems.

Researchers supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will examine the clinical data of about 500,000 children and adults who have taken medications used to treat ADHD, to determine whether those drugs increase cardiovascular risks.

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Because medications used to treat ADHD can increase heart rate and blood pressure, there are concerns about the drugs' potential to increase cardiac risks. It is also thought these risks may be different for adults and children, but more evidence is needed about the long-term effects of using ADHD medications.

The planned analysis follows an FDA-sponsored preliminary study that compiled information from large health care databases on prescription drug use, inpatient care, outpatient treatment, and health outcomes, including death. Based on that effort, researchers identified people who took ADHD drugs during a seven-year period ending in 2005. AHRQ, which sponsors research on clinical effectiveness and safety, will team with FDA to complete the analysis of the data.

"This study highlights one of AHRQ's most important missions:

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