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ADHD Drugs Linked to Sudden Death in Kids
Date:6/15/2009

But these unexplained events are exceedingly rare, study finds,,,,

MONDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Stimulant medications commonly prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are associated with an increased risk of sudden death, but those deaths are still rare, new research finds.

Children and teens taking ADHD stimulant medications were seven times more likely to die suddenly than their peers, the study found.

"What we found -- to our surprise -- is that even if you take out confounding factors, the association between stimulant use and sudden death was still significant," said study author, Madelyn Gould, a professor of clinical epidemiology in psychiatry at Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City. "I'm confident the association is real and significant, but it's very rare. I don't want our findings to change prescribing patterns or for a parent to change their willingness to use stimulant medications if they're called for, but physicians should monitor patients with any new medication you give a young person."

Results of the study were published in the June 15 online edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

As many as 2.5 million children in the United States take ADHD stimulant medications, such as amphetamine, dextroamphetamine (Adderall), methamphetamine or methylphenidate (Ritalin), according to an editorial in the same issue.

In the early 1990s, several reports of sudden, unexplained death in children taking these medications began to raise concerns. But the rarity of such deaths made them difficult to study. In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested that the prescribing information on these medications warn physicians against ordering the drugs for children with any known cardiac abnormalities. Current prescribing information also suggests that physicians request a thorough family history of heart
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