In recent years there has been concern expressed by some researchers that children on ADHD medications may be at increased risk of developing heart problems. A new American study (Schelleman et al, Pediatrics, May 16 2011) examined this proposed link. The researchers used extensive medical databases to compare the frequency of cardiac events in children using ADHD medications with children who have never taken ADHD medication. They identified a large group (241 417) of children taking medication (Dexamphetamine / Ritalin / Concerta / Strattera) and matched each child with non-users of medication on the basis of data source, gender, state and age. Cardiovascular events were verified using medical records. Data analysis showed no significant differences in the rate of sudden death, stroke or irregular heart rhythms between medication users and non-users. Furthermore, no heart attacks were identified in medication users.
The researchers concluded that the rate of cardiovascular events in children taking ADHD medications was very low in general, and no higher than the rate in children who were not using ADHD medications.