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

time we prescribe any medication, we have to balance its benefits and risks," he said.

In the case of stimulant medications, he said physicians should follow recently developed guidelines and take a thorough personal and family history before prescribing them. If any concerns arise, the child should be referred for an EKG (a heart rate test) or an evaluation by a pediatric cardiologist before medication is prescribed.

If your child has been on stimulants for awhile, there's probably no need for concern, Gould said. Parents should not abruptly stop their child's medications, the three experts agreed. If you are worried, call the prescribing doctor and discuss the potential risks and benefits of the medications, because often the benefits will outweigh the risks.

"The most important point is to make sure that everyone is well-educated and that a conscientious screening has been done," said Chaves-Gnecco.

More information

Learn more about stimulant medications for ADHD from the Nemours Foundation's KidsHealth Web site.



SOURCES: Madelyn S. Gould, M.P.H., professor, clinical epidemiology in psychiatry, Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York City; Diego Chaves-Gnecco, M.D., developmental-behavioral pediatrician, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Penn.; Benedetto Vitiello, M.D., psychiatrist and chief, child and adolescent treatment intervention branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.; American Journal of Psychiatry online, June 15, 2009


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