ADHD drugs don’t increase heart risks, study concludes

There’s reassuring news out Tuesday about the safety of Ritalin, Adderall and other drugs widely prescribed to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

An analysis of data collected from more than 1.2 million children and young adults between the ages of 2 and 24 years of age found no evidence that the medications increase the risk for heart problems, as had been feared.

“This large study showed no evidence that current use of an ADHD drug was associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events,” William O. Cooper of Vanderbilt University and his colleagues wrote in a paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

ADHD drugs are prescribed to more than 2.7 million children in the United States each year. They are generally considered safe. But concerns arose among some about possible heart problems, including sudden deaths, heart attacks and strokes. .

In the new analysis, Cooper and his colleagues analyzed data collected from four health plans in Tennessee, Washington State, California, and nationwide. There was no increased risk of serious heart problems, the researchers found. While the researchers concluded that an increased risk could not be completely “ruled out ... the absolute magnitude of any increased risk would be low.”

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