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Pediatrics Study Finds Children Taking ADHD Medications Did Not Suffer More Serious Heart Problems or Cardiovascular-related Death
Date:5/16/2011

WILMINGTON, Del., May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Children taking medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder suffered no more from serious heart problems or heart-related deaths than those who were not taking ADHD medications, according to a study published online today in the journal, Pediatrics.

The study, co-authored by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and HealthCore Inc., drew data from the largest population—241,417 children and adolescents—studied to date to evaluate cardiovascular problems and death associated with pediatric ADHD medication use.  The study also includes records involving both Medicaid and commercially insured children.

Case reports of sudden death in children and adolescents treated with these drugs have led some to worry they might increase the risk of serious cardiovascular events.  Previous studies have shown conflicting results.

"We found low rates of cardiovascular events and of cardiovascular-related deaths in those children and adolescents receiving ADHD medications," said lead author Sean Hennessy, PharmD, PhD , an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "For kids who will benefit from ADHD treatment, the potential risk of a cardiovascular event should not dissuade parents or caregivers from giving a child or adolescent these drugs."

The study found no significant increases in rates of sudden death, heart attack and stroke in patients taking ADHD medications compared to those not taking medications.

Researchers used data on children and adolescents from 3-17 years old from a five-state Medicaid database, as well as the HealthCore Integrated Research Database™, which contains historical and current medical and pharmacy claims data from more than 44 million enrollees in Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans across 14 states. The study identified
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