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New Study Finds No Evidence of Adderall Heart Problems

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Chicago, ILDespite some concern over the risk of Adderall side effects, a new study suggests there is no cause for concern about Adderall heart problems. Researchers reportedly found there is no increased risk of Adderall heart attack or Adderall stroke in adult patients who use the medication.

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; 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.

Despite the findings, however, researchers did not rule out the possibility that ADHD medications could be associated with a small increase in heart risks. One limitation of the study was that it followed patients for only 16 months, which may not be long enough for heart problems to arise. Furthermore, although patients had their prescriptions filled, there was no way of knowing which patients actually took the medications. Finally, only a very small percentage of the participants overall in the study—less than one percent—suffered a serious heart problem, meaning that a small increase in the risk of heart attacks may not have been detected.

"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.


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