A recent study, Cardiovascular Events and Death in Children Exposed and Unexposed to ADHD Agents, compared the rate of severe cardiovascular events and death in children who use attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications versus nonusers.

The study was a result of The American Heart Association raising concerns about the safety of these drugs.

A cohort study was performed using 1999 to 2006 data from 2 administrative databases. Data from 241,417 teenagers compared rates of severe cardiovascular events (sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia, stroke, or myocardial infarction).

All the children had received a first prescription for amphetamine, atomoxetine, or methylphenidate. Data from 945,668 nonusers (matched for data source, sex, state, and age) was also analysed for the same cardiovascular events.

Rates of validated sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia and of all-cause mortality did not differ significantly between users and nonusers of stimulants.

In both users and nonusers, review and validation of cardiovascular events from medical records was possible for only half the children (155 records).

The study concluded that “the rate of cardiovascular events in exposed children was very low and in general no higher than that in unexposed control subjects.”

Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.
Source: Schelleman H et al. Cardiovascular events and death in children exposed and unexposed to ADHD agents. Pediatrics 2011 May 16; [e-pub ahead of print].