A recent study involving children taking stimulant drugs such as Ritalin to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder has caused a stir in the medical community. The study revealed that children are several times as likely to suffer sudden, unexplained death as children who are not taking such drugs. The study, published on June 16th, was funded by the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute of Mental Health. It should be noted that researchers stopped short of suggesting a cause and effect. This study is the first to rigorously demonstrate a rare, but worrisome connection, between ADHD drugs and sudden death among children. The research adds to the evolving puzzle parents and doctors face in deciding whether to treat children with medication.
Doctors have speculated about such a connection in the past because stimulants increase heart rate and have other cardiovascular effects. Physicians are currently advised to evaluate patients for cardiac risks before prescribing the drugs. FDA officials said that those guidelines do not need strengthening in light of the new study. About 2.5 million children in the United States take ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.
Source: Washington Post
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