No evidence of serious cardiovascular events in children and young adults using medications for ADHD

Research Activities, June 2012, No. 382

Despite some reports of adverse events, including sudden death, heart attack, and stroke among children and young adults who were prescribed medications to treat attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new study finds no evidence that current use of an ADHD drug was associated with an increased risk of serious cardiovascular events. These medications, used by more than 2.7 million children in the United States, have been considered to be relatively safe. The 1,200,438 children and young adults included in the study were from four geographically diverse health plans with more than 2.5 million person-years of follow-up. In this group, there were 81 serious cardiovascular events, including 33 sudden cardiac deaths, 9 heart attacks, and 39 strokes.

The overall incidence of serious cardiovascular events was 3.1 per 100,000 person years. Factors associated with these events included older age, current use of an antipsychotic drug, a major psychiatric illness, a serious cardiovascular condition, and chronic illness. This study was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Contract No. 290-05-0042).

See "ADHD drugs and serious cardiovascular events in children and young adults" by William O. Cooper, M.D., Laurel A. Habel, Ph.D., Colin M. Sox, M.D., and others in the November 17, 2011 New England Journal of Medicine 365(20), pp. 1896-1904.

Current as of June 2012
Internet Citation: No evidence of serious cardiovascular events in children and young adults using medications for ADHD: Research Activities, June 2012, No. 382. June 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/jun12/0612RA20.html