The American Heart Association isn't making any friends among ADHD drug makers today. The health charity is recommending that kids get an EKG before taking stimulant drugs like Ritalin for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
These meds, of course, can boost blood pressure and heart rate. For most kids that's not a problem, but those with heart conditions could be more vulnerable to sudden cardiac arrest and other problems, the AHA said. The meds already carry warnings of cardiac risks in those with pre-existing heart problems. "We don't want to keep children from being treated," said a pediatric cardiologist who headed the recommendation committee. "We want to do it as safely as possible."
A spokesman for Shire, the U.K. ADHD specialist, said the drugs' labeling already recommends an EKG and cardiac evaluation as necessary, adding, "There's no new information here."
- read the story in the LA Times
Pros use pills to boost brainpower
New drug warnings poised for rollout
FDA panel wants 'black box' on ADHD drugs