Adderall is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults. Side effects of the drugs reportedly include an increase in blood pressure and heart attack. Previous studies have suggested an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest.
The most recent study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente of Northern California and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (and cited by msnbc.msn.com; 12/12/11), found no increased risk of heart attack or stroke in patients who use ADHD medications including Adderall.
Researchers studied the medical records of more than 400,000 adults between the ages of 25 and 64, including 150,000 patients who had prescriptions for ADHD drugs. They found that patients who used the medications had approximately the same rate of heart problems while on the drugs as a year after they stopped. Furthermore, they found no increased risk among people who currently use an ADHD medication when compared with those who have never used one.
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"A modestly elevated risk cannot be ruled out, given limited power and a lack of complete information on some potentially important risk factors and other factors related to use of these medications," researchers noted.
The study contradicts some earlier studies that did find an increased risk of heart problems in patients who were given ADHD medications. Those studies also had some limitations, however.