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No increase in severe cardiovascular events for children, adolescents taking ADHD medications
Date:5/15/2011

PHILADELPHIA - Despite recent concerns that medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could increase the risk of cardiovascular events in children and adolescents, an observational study conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and HealthCore Inc. finds they are no more likely to die from a severe cardiovascular event than those who do not take the drugs. The findings, published online in the journal Pediatrics, provide the first analysis of such events in a large population of children and adolescents receiving ADHD medications compared to non-users.

"These data provide reassurance that the thing most concerning death is not any higher in users of ADHD medications than non-users," says senior author Sean Hennessy, PharmD, PhD, an associate professor of Epidemiology at Penn. "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."

An estimated 2.7 million or 4.8 percent of all children in the U.S. ages 4-17 took ADHD medications in 2007, the most recent year for which data are available. After previous studies found drugs to treat ADHD can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure in children, Hennessy's group turned to a large database of patient records to see if patients who recently began taking ADHD medications appeared any more likely to suffer from sudden death, heart attack, or stroke.

For the study, researchers sifted through patient data contained in Medicaid databases from five states (CA, FL, PA, NY, OH) and 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 in 14 states. Hennessy's group identified 241,417 patients ages 3-17 on ADHD medications and tracked their health records during the per
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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