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Jun 09, 2016 08:28 AM EDT

ADHD Treatment: New Research Shows ADHD Drug May Increase Risk Of Heart Disease For Children, Adolescents

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Adelaide, AU - University of South Australia Research Team Head and Senior Author Nicole Pratt said that the stimulant methylphenidate (multiple brands), which is commonly used as cure for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The research suggests that children and young adults taking medication to treat their ADHD may be at an increased risk of heart problems, as these events are rare, parents and clinicians must be aware of the potential cardiac adverse effects in children taking the methylphenidate or Ritalin. Thus, the findings show that much more research must be considered necessary on the potential side effects of the drug, Pratt told Reuters Health.

Researchers for this study used insurance data on 114,647 children from South Korea who are 17 and below in age and received at least one prescription for methylphenidate. In 2008 up to 2011, 1,224 among the children had cardiovascular problems for the first time. In general, 864 children had heart rhythm problems, 395 got high blood pressure, 57 recorded heart attacks, 67 got hit by stroke and 44 developed heart failure, Fox News reported.  

This indicates that about 61 percent of the kids are more likely to have a heart rhythm problem when they started taking methylphenidate. Mostly, these kids were at risk for a heart rhythm problem at the initial three days of treatment. However, the increased risk was gone once the child had been subscribed on the drug for more than 56 days, Fox News added.

Conversely, the risk for a heart rhythm problem was also highest for children having congenital heart disease. Even if, the overall increased risk of heart attacks was not at-large for children being treated with methylphenidate, still, there was a somewhat higher risk between the eighth and 56th day after the start of treatment.

Additionally, the study did not look whether heart problems occurred more often in those who started taking methylphenidate than to those who were not prescribed the drug, wrote John Jackson of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

On the end note, for Pratt, it will be important to duplicate these findings in other populations.

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