Children diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) who are on medications for their conditions were found to have the same risk of cardiovascular events as other children not on ADHD drugs, researchers reported in the journal Pediatrics.
In this large study, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia gathered and evaluated data on over 241,000 children aged 3 to 17 years who were taking ADHD drugs, as well as 965,000 who were not on ADHD medications.
The risks of developing validated sudden death or an irregular heartbeat (ventricular arrhythmia) were not significantly different in the two groups, the authors informed. Among the ones taking ADHD drugs, there were no heart attacks (myocardial infarctions).
The researchers said across the two groups there were 142 hospital claims of stroke. However, they were not able to validate these cases in follow-up data with the hospitals.
The study did not look into what the risk might be for children with existing heart conditions.
In 2007, ADHD medication manufacturers in the USA had to produce a medication guide alerting doctors and patients of a potential cardiovascular event risk.
In this study's secondary analysis, a statistically elevated link between sudden death and ventricular arrhythmia was and Strattera, Ritalin and some other medications was detected. However, the numbers were so small that it was not possible to make any reliable conclusion.
In the USA today about 4.5 million children are diagnosed with ADHD, 5% of all children. Approximately two-thirds of them are prescribed some kind of drug to control their symptoms.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)ADHD is the most common behavioral disorder that starts in childhood. It affects children and adults. Experts say it is a neurobehavioral developmental disorder.
People with ADHD have difficulty in focusing on things without being distracted. They might find it harder to control what they do, what they say, and how much physical activity is suitable for a particular situation - compared to individuals without ADHD.
People with ADHD are much more restless and impulsive than those without the condition.
Normal childhood excitedness and boisterousness has nothing to do with ADHD. A child with ADHD is restless, fidgety and overactive - much more so than other children of their age. They may be constantly chattering, continuously interrupting others, are inattentive and find it very difficult to focus on specific or long tasks. A child with ADHD may have trouble waiting for their turn, standing in line, or knowing when to talk in a conversation.
Even then, these signs may exist in many children who do not have ADHD. It is when they start undermining their social and school life, that teachers and health care professionals need determine whether the child has ADHD.
Experts are not sure what causes ADHD. There is probably a genetic factor, because it is more common in children who have a close relative who has/had ADHH. The condition is more common in boys than girls. It is thought to be a result of chemical imbalances in the brain.
Some studies point to food additives as being possible causes. Certain food dyes in the European Union specifically warn of a potential link with ADHD risk.
"Severe Cardiovascular Events and Death in Children and Adolescents Exposed to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Medications"
Written by Christian Nordqvist