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Adderall Death And Side Effects FAQ

What is Adderall and how does it work?

Adderall and Adderall XR are strong stimulants comprising four amphetamines that include Dexedrine and Benzedrine. Adderall is classified as an amphetamine, which is a group of medications that stimulate the central nervous system. Adderall is produced as both an immediate release (IR) and extended release (XR) formulation.

It works by altering the amounts of natural substances in the brain. These amphetamine salts that make up Adderall are “monoamine reuptake inhibitors,” which means that they prevent the absorption of released neurotransmitters. Adderall belongs to the norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) drug class. Both norepinephrine and dopamine regulate stress levels in the human brain, and a shortage of dopamine inhibits cognition. By increasing norepinephrine and dopamine, Adderall eases ADHD symptoms.

Who takes Adderall and why?

Adderall was originally made as a weight loss medication. It is now mainly prescribed to children and adults to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition whereby the individual has difficulty controlling actions, remaining still and focusing. A growing trend is the diagnosis of younger children with ADHD.

It is also prescribed to patients with bipolar disorder, although some health care professionals believe Adderall can do more harm than good for this condition. It is also prescribed to treat narcolepsy (a sleep condition that causes excessive daytime tiredness and sudden attacks of sleep).

Many college students take Adderall allegedly to help them focus. The drug is widely available illegally, especially in high schools and in colleges. Adderall is often in the news when a celebrity is “busted” with the drug and often without a prescription.

Who should not take Adderall?

Adderall XR is not recommended for use in children three years of age and younger. Pregnant women should not take the drug and they shouldn’t breast feed while taking Adderall - side effects are unknown. Adderall should not be taken if you have heart disease or hardening of the arteries, moderate to severe high blood pressure, an overactive thyroid, an eye disease called glaucoma, are very anxious, tense, or agitated, have a history of drug abuse, are taking a type of medication called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or have taken one within the past 14 days, or if you are sensitive, allergic, or had a reaction to other stimulant medicines.

When did the FDA approve Adderall and for whom?

The current Adderall brand was approved in 1996 as an instant-release tablet. Adderall XR (extended release) was approved by the FDA for children over the age of 6 in 2001 and Adderall is prescribed for children over 3 years of age. The first generic version of Adderall IR was introduced to market in 2002.

What are Adderall side effects?

The FDA has received a number of reports of Adderall heart attack, Adderall stroke, and even Adderall death in both children and adults. Adderall heart problems are also reported in people prescribed the drug for bipolar disorder.

Side effects can include:

• Heart attack

• Stroke

• High blood pressure

• Hypertension

• Arrhythmia

• Seizure

• Dyskinesia

• Exacerbation of Tourette's syndrome

• Worsening of tics

Adderall has also been linked to psychiatric problems, including symptoms of psychosis in patients who have no history or risk factors for psychosis. The symptoms include:

• Aggression

• Psychosis and mania

• Hallucinations

What is the FDA doing to warn the public about Adderall side effects?

The FDA has issued several warnings concerning Adderall. In early 2006, the FDA’s advisory panel learned that during the time period 1999 to 2003 there were 81 deaths and 54 non-fatal cardiovascular events possibly linked to the ADHD/ADD drugs. Adderall was involved in more fatal case reports than any other ADHD/ADD drug, with 24 deaths reported during 1999 to 2003. The chairman of the panel, Dr. Peter Gross, likened Adderall to Vioxx (Vioxx was recalled after a long delayed discovery that it substantially increases risk of heart attack or stroke). The panel concluded a black box warning was needed on Adderall and the other ADHD/ADD drugs.

The FDA is undertaking a new study on teens regarding how they view prescription medications such as Adderall. Shire has been warned about how it markets its drug to teens.

Is the US Government doing anything to make the public (and the health community) more aware of Adderall dangers and abuse?

Adderall and Adderall XR are classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration, US Department of Justice as Schedule II Substances, which means that Adderall and Adderall XR have a “high potential for abuse" that “may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.”

In 2005, Health Canada suspended marketing of Adderall XR (extended release) from the Canadian market due to concern about reports of sudden unexplained death (SUD) in children taking Adderall and Adderall XR. SUD has been associated with amphetamine abuse and reported in children with underlying cardiac abnormalities taking recommended doses of amphetamines, including Adderall and Adderall XR. In addition, a very small number of cases of SUD have been reported in children without structural cardiac abnormalities taking Adderall. At that time, the FDA announced it cannot conclude that recommended doses of Adderall can cause SUD, but is continuing to carefully evaluate these data.

And in September 2014, Shire Pharmaceuticals, the Adderall manufacturer, agreed to pay a $56.5 Million settlement for violating the False Claims Act.

What was Shire Pharmaceuticals accused of?

The drug company was accused of promoting Adderall with claims that it was superior over competitive medications without clinical data to back up such claims. Shire was further accused of promoting Adderall off-label (i.e., for uses not approved by the FDA) and other claims not supported by scientific evidence. Four whistleblowers, former Shire employees, initiated the investigation.

What do studies say about Adderrall side effects?

In a study published in the American Heart Journal, researchers found that amphetamine abusers faced 3.3 times the risk of developing a torn aorta after reviewing medical records of nearly 31 million patients nationwide, ages 18 to 49.

In a 2006 study conducted by the Department of Communication at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, researchers found that 34 percent of the undergraduate students who participated reported using ADHD stimulants illegally. According to the study: “Most illegal users reported using ADHD stimulants primarily in periods of high academic stress and found them to reduce fatigue while increasing reading comprehension, interest, cognition, and memory. Furthermore, most had little information about the drug and found procurement to be both easy and stigma free.”

On the other hand, reviews of clinical stimulant research have established the safety and effectiveness of long-term amphetamine use for ADHD Medications for ADHD (In Millichap JG. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Handbook: A Physician’s Guide to ADHD).

Controlled trials spanning two years have demonstrated treatment effectiveness and safety. Huang YS, Tsai MH (July 2011). “Long-term outcomes with medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: current status of knowledge.” One review highlighted a nine-month randomized controlled trial in children with ADHD that found an average increase of 4.5 IQ points and continued improvements in attention, disruptive behaviors and hyperactivity.

However, health professionals do not concur that Adderall can help over the long-term. The New York Times (January 28, 2012) reported on the affects of a long-term study on children with ADHD taking Adderall and Ritalin. “To date, no study has found any long-term benefit of attention-deficit medication on academic performance, peer relationships or behavior problems, the very things we would most want to improve. Until recently, most studies of these drugs had not been properly randomized, and some of them had other methodological flaws. After three years, these effects had faded, and by eight years there was no evidence that medication produced any academic or behavioral benefits.”

What side effects are attorneys investigating?

Attorneys are currently investigating Adderall and its link to heart conditions, including heart attack and stroke. Families of Adderall patients who experience sudden death may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Is there an Adderall class action?

Several class-action lawsuits have been filed by individuals who claim that they were injured by adverse side effects related to ADHD medications such as Adderall and Ritalin.

Two anti-trust class action lawsuits have been filed against Shire US Inc, the manufacturer of the ADHD drug Adderall XR, alleging the pharmaceutical company stifled competition in order to monopolize the market and/or restrict trade in an effort to increase profits.

Have Adderall lawsuits been filed?

Yes. Adderall product liability lawsuits allege that Shire Pharmaceuticals was negligent and marketed a dangerous product that injured many patients who took the drug. In 2011, a $10 million lawsuit was filed against the Oregon State Hospital claiming that a mental patient, Joshua Jaschke, suffered two heart attacks because he was overmedicated and mistreated at the Salem psychiatric facility. He was prescribed Adderall and other medications that allegedly caused him to suffer two heart attacks.

How much time do I have to file an Adderall lawsuit?

States differ in their statute of limitations. Attorneys advise you or families concerned about their loved ones to inquire about Adderall lawsuit time limits sooner than later.
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Last updated on Oct-27-14
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