ADHD Drugs and Heart Risks

Reuters is reporting that two U.S. health agencies plan to study the effects of ADHD drugs on the heart. Take a look:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it will collaborate with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to examine clinical data of about 500,000 children and adults who have taken ADHD drugs, which include Novartis AG's Ritalin and Shire Plc's Adderall.

The analysis, expected to take about two years, will include all drugs currently marketed for treating ADHD. Millions of people take the medicines.

Because the drugs can increase heart rate and blood pressure, there are concerns they may raise the risk of heart attacks, strokes or other cardiovascular problems.
For more on ADHD, take a look at this post from the other day: Ritalin Stunts.
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Ritalin Stunts

Get a load of this article Dr. Fuhrman emailed me. Apparently Ritalin—the drug doctors just love to prescribe for ADHD—might stunt growth. WebMD reported on it back in July, take a look:
The symptoms of childhood ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) usually get dramatically better soon after kids start taking stimulant drugs. But this benefit may come with a cost, says James Swanson, Ph.D., director of the Child Development Center at the University of California, Irvine.

"Yes, there is a growth-suppression effect with stimulant ADHD medications," Swanson tells WebMD. "It is going to occur at the age of treatment, and over three years it will accumulate."

Whether these kids eventually grow to normal size remains a question. Kids entered the study in 1999 at ages 7 to 9. The current report is a snapshot taken three years later. The 10-year results — when the kids are at their adult height — won't be in for two more years.

"The big question now is whether there is any effect on these kids' ultimate height," Swanson says. "We don't know if by the time they are 18 they will regain the height."
For more on ADHD, check out Followhealthlife’s ADHD category.
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Bipolar Disorder: Another Brick in the Wall

Maybe the Pink Floyd song should go, “Hey doctors…we don’t need your medication.” Denise Gellene of The Los Angeles Times reports bipolar disorder may be over-diagnosed in youths:
The report in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry said bipolar disorder was found in 1,003 of every 100,000 office visits from children and adolescents in 2002-03, compared with 25 of 100,000 office visits in 1994-95.

The diagnosis of bipolar disorder among adults increased twofold during the same period, researchers said.

The study didn't investigate the reasons for the sudden rise in bipolar cases among children and adolescents. A book published in 2000, "The Bipolar Child," made the controversial assertion that one-third to one-half of children with depression had bipolar disorder.

Dr. Mark Olfson, a psychiatrist at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and senior author of the latest study, said part of the increase was attributable to an under-diagnosis of bipolar disorder in the past.

But Olfson said another reason was the mislabeling of children and adolescents with aggressive or irritable behaviors as bipolar, an illness that is treated with powerful psychotropic medications, many of which have not been tested in children.
I’ve got plenty of little cousins and I can I tell you firsthand. At least half of them are hopped up, a scary reality and perhaps, all too common. Here’s what Dr. Fuhrman had to say about this:
I don’t know, but I am always suspicious of all these diseases that are increasing in the last 20 to 30 years with our chemicalized, drugged, medicated, polluted, and nutrition-less toxic food environment. Soon almost all kids will be on medications for something.
For more on this sort of issue, check out these posts:
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