If you have been prescribed Adderall off label for bipolar disorder you may have a claim against Shire, the Adderall manufacturer. Some health professionals believe that Adderall should not be used to treat patients with bipolar disorder: If the medication is taken during a manic stage of the condition they could go into Adderall psychosis, which can be very dangerous, both to themselves and others.
Adderall Bipolar Disorder
Adderall bipolar attorneys are investigating safety concerns regarding an increased rate of bipolar disorder in patients currently taking Adderall. As well, research indicates an increased severity of Adderall bipolar side effects in individuals with a past history of Adderall use for ADHD in childhood (American Journal of Psychiatry 163 (7).
Adderall is a dextroamphetamine/amphetamine composite medication that was first marketed for weight loss more than 30 years ago. The FDA approved Adderall in 1996 for treatment of ADHD in adults and children aged three and over.
Adderall for ADHD
The most commonly prescribed drugs to treat children diagnosed with ADHD and other disorders are either the "amphetamine-like" methylphenidate, such as Ritalin, or actual amphetamines (Adderall is a mix of amphetamine salts and very similar to Ritalin). These amphetamines are believed to boost levels of dopamine in the brain, which helps the ADHD and bipolar patient to focus.
Ritalin and Adderall
Methylphenidate, (brand name Ritalin) is an amphetamine derivative and potent central nervous system stimulant that can lead to a psychosis from chronic use.
Edmund S. Higgins, clinical associate professor of family medicine and psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina states, "Methylphenidate has a chemical structure similar to that of cocaine and acts on the brain in a very similar way."
Both Ritalin and Adderall go to brain cells and stop them from taking up dopamine and norepinephrine—chemicals associated with focus, motivation and pleasure. Adderall takes this process one step further: it goes inside the brain cells and causes them to pump out dopamine. It therefore blocks the reuptake of the substance and also acts to increase its levels directly, which means it is a stronger medication than Ritalin in some regards and is usually prescribed about 1/2 that of Ritalin.
(Ritalin’s widespread use has resulted in a number of lawsuits claiming that ADHD is being over diagnosed to boost Ritalin sales to children who are simply unruly. More recently, Ritalin's potential for abuse in public schools is so high that US House Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde recently filed a request with the General Accounting Office to conduct an investigation.)
People suffering from bipolar disorder can become attracted to amphetamines such as Adderall because these medications keep the bipolar patient up in the “manic” state, which is naturally preferable to the down or “depressive” state. Therefore the mania itself becomes addicting. (Manic Depressive, which comes from the words mania and depression, is similar to bipolar disorder.)
Adderall Bipolar Addiction
One blogger writes:
"My husband is bipolar and was prescribed Adderall by his doctor. He complained of mood changes and aggression…He subsequently suffered a psychotic episode."
The rate of psychotic symptoms that first appear during stimulant treatment was published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry Vol. 2, Issue 3, Ethical Human Sciences and Services. A 5-year study of 192 children diagnosed with ADHD showed that psychotic symptoms developed in more than 9 percent of the 98 children treated with methylphenidate. According to the researchers, "The symptoms ceased as soon as the medication was removed". No psychotic symptoms were reported among the children with ADHD who did not receive stimulants. The psychotic symptoms caused by methylphenidate included hallucinations and paranoia. The authors conclude that, due to poor reporting, the rate of stimulant-induced psychosis and psychotic symptoms was probably much higher. The researchers reported that when these children developed depression, delusions, hallucinations, paranoid fears and other drug-induced reactions while taking stimulants, their physicians mistakenly concluded that the children suffered from "clinical depression," "schizophrenia" or "bipolar disorder" that has been "unmasked" by the medications.
Bipolar Children and Adderall
According to ParentsMedGuide.org, ADHD medication does not cause bipolar disorder, but ADHD medications “can make pre-existing manic symptoms worse”. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) says that in rare instances, these medications “may also cause manic episodes or behavior. If your child becomes manic or overly irritable while taking ADHD medication, contact your child’s doctor immediately”.
However, The New York Times reported that AACAP expert Russell Barkley, Ph.D., receives or has received research support, and acted as a consultant and/or served on a speaker’s bureau for Shire Pharmaceuticals Group—the maker of Adderall.
Shire Pharmaceuticals states the following Contraindications on its Adderall label:
- Bipolar Illness
Particular care should be taken in using stimulants to treat ADHD patients with comorbid bipolar disorder because of concern for possible induction of mixed/manic episode in such patients. Prior to initiating treatment with a stimulant, patients with comorbid depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression.
- Emergence of New Psychotic or Manic Symptoms
Treatment-emergent psychotic or manic symptoms, e.g., hallucinations, delusional thinking, or mania in children and adolescents without prior history of psychotic illness or mania can be caused by stimulants at usual doses.
The FDA Advisory Panel has recommended Black Box Warnings for Adderall and other ADHD/ADD Drugs.
Adderall Bipolar Legal HelpIf you or a loved one has suffered damages in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a Adderall lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Last updated on Mar-23-12