"A key strength of this study is that the study data reflected experiences of children and adolescents from a wide range of demographic and economic backgrounds –those from families receiving state Medicaid benefits and those from families with private health insurance," said Gregory Daniel, PhD, MPH , HealthCore vice president of government and academic research. "We were also able to combine insurance claims data with medical records to gain much more insight into whether or not risks of severe cardiovascular events and related mortality were elevated."
The study was based on Medicaid records from 1999-2003 and HealthCore Integrated Research Database™ records from 2001-2006, well before a 2008 recommendation from the American Heart Association that an electrocardiogram be performed before starting any child or teenager on stimulant medications. The study showed that the use of ECGs during this study period, before the 2008 recommendation, were very low.
"It is interesting to note the lower incidence of cardiac-related events, especially when you consider that very few patients from this study were screened with an ECG prior to initiating therapy," said Mark J. Cziraky, PharmD, FAHA, HealthCore vice president of industry sponsored research. "This would likely have removed more patients with higher cardiac risks from the pool of patients using ADHD medications, and would have potentially lowered the rate further."
The study was funded by Shire, a manufacturer of ADHD medications.
Other authors of the study included: Hedi Schelleman, PhD; Warren B. Bilker, PhD; Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH; Stephen E. Kimmel, MD, MSCE; Craig Newcomb, MS; and James P. Guevara, MD, MPH, all from the University of Pennsylvania.
HealthCore, based in Wilmington, De
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