Federal study of ADHD drugs to look at potential heart risks
Following up on safety concerns about prescription drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, U.S. health officials announced Monday that the government was launching a two-year study to determine whether the medications posed heart risks for adults and children.
Most ADHD medications are powerful stimulants that can increase blood pressure, and last year a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended stronger warnings for them.
A major concern is that the drugs are increasingly being used to treat adults, who are more susceptible than children to high blood pressure and cardiac problems.
The FDA had initiated a preliminary study of the problem, but budget constraints had threatened the research.
The new study will be co-sponsored by the FDA and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a branch of the Health and Human Services Department that scrutinizes issues of cost-effectiveness.
Researchers will review clinical data on 500,000 patients who took ADHD drugs over a seven-year period ending in 2005. They’ll search for any patterns linking the medications to heart problems.