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Heart Disease Risk Similar in Children Treated for ADHD

Last Updated: May 17, 2011.

Use of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder agents by children is not significantly associated with cardiovascular events or death, according to a study published online May 16 in Pediatrics.

TUESDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- Use of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) agents by children is not significantly associated with cardiovascular events or death, according to a study published online May 16 in Pediatrics.

Hedi Schelleman, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues compared the rate of serious cardiovascular events and deaths in children exposed to ADHD medications versus nonusers in a large cohort study. Data for 241,417 children, aged between 3 to 17 years, with a prescription for amphetamine, atomoxetine, or methylphenidate were collected from two administrative databases, and were used along with the medical records validating cardiovascular events. Children using ADHD agents were matched with four nonusers based on the data source, gender, state, and age.

The investigators found that there was no statistically significant difference in the rate of validated sudden death, ventricular arrhythmia, or all-cause death in incident ADHD medication users and nonusers. None of the strokes that occurred during exposure to medication were validated. No significant differences were seen between prevalent users and nonusers for any cardiovascular events.

"We found low rates of validated severe cardiovascular events and of all-cause, nonsuicide, and nonaccidental death in children and adolescents receiving ADHD medications. Our results do not suggest the existence of a difference in risk between ADHD medication exposed and unexposed subjects," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties with pharmaceutical companies, including Shire, which funded the study.

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