Major FDA Study to Assess Health Effects of ADD Medications

Health officials will study the long-term effects of ADHD drugs to determine any possible impact on blood pressure and heart rate.

Thursday September 20th - 10:37am

U.S. government officials, led by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have launched a two-year study of medications for attention-deficit disorder to look at potential long-term effects on blood pressure and heart rate in adults.

Researchers will analyze the records of about 500,000 children and adults who took ADHD medication during a seven-year period ending in 2005 to search for any possibility of impact on blood pressure or the cardiovascular system. Comprehensive longitudinal data have already established the safety of such medications on ADHD children. But because the practice of treating ADHD adults with stimulants is still relatively new, its long-term safety is not as thoroughly documented. The planned study—the largest of its kind to date—will continue to look at the safety of these drugs for children, but will seek to determine long-term safety in adults as well, particularly as more adults seek drug treatment to help manage ADHD.

The analysis will include all drugs currently marketed to treat ADHD. The FDA already requires drug-makers to carry product labeling about possible adverse effects and to include patient Medication Guides for individual products to help patients understand potential risks.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which sponsors research on clinical effectiveness and safety, will collaborate with the FDA on the study. Find more information at the FDA’s website, and learn more about treatment options for ADD, including expert advice on medications, alternative therapies, and non-medical treatments, in ADDitude's Treatment channel.

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