Bloomberg News

Attention Deficit Drugs Don’t Raise Adults’ Heart Risk in Study

December 15, 2011

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder didn’t raise the risk of heart attacks, stroke or sudden cardiac death in adults, a study found.

The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, follows a similar review published last month that found no increased risk in children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urged pharmaceutical companies to warn parents and patients about the potential danger in 2006 after reports that the medicines could increase cardiovascular risks in children.

While drugs such as Shire Plc’s Adderall, Novartis AG’s Ritalin and Johnson & Johnson’s Concerta are often considered childhood medications, nearly one-third of all pills taken for the condition known as ADHD are used by adults. Pills used to treat attention deficit can raise blood pressure and heart rate, which theoretically could contribute to heart complications.

“Current or new use of ADHD medications identified from filled prescriptions, compared with nonuse or remote use, was not associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events,” said the researchers, led by Laurel A. Habel, from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland. “We also found little support for an increased risk for any specific medication or with longer duration of current use,” the researchers concluded in the study.

--Editors: Angela Zimm, Bruce Rule

To contact the reporter on this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at

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