Stimulant Meds OK for ADHD Kids With Heart Problems

the Psychiatry Advisor take:

It is safe for children with congential heart disease who also have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to take stimulant medications without fear of adverse cardiovascular side effects.

Julia Anixt, MD, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues studied 44 children between the ages of 6 and 18 years old with heart disease, and given stimulants. They compared these patients with others who had a similar kind of heart disease but were not given stimulants. Electrocardiograms were taken of all the participants to measure the effects of the stimulants on the heart.

Since 2006, the FDA has required labeling of stimulant medications to include a warning that they generally should not be used in children and adolescents with serious cardiac abnormalities, cardiomyopathy or arrhythmias.

There was no increased risk for death or changes in blood pressure or heart rate between the groups, even in those with ADHD and a severe heart condition, the researchers reported at the annual meeting of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics in Las Vegas.

“Children with congenital heart disease are at high risk for ADHD, but fears about cardiovascular side effects, including sudden death, limit the use of stimulant medications,” Anixt said in a statement. “This study indicates that stimulants are both effective and safe when prescribed with appropriate monitoring and in collaboration with the patient's cardiologist.”

Stimulant Meds OK for ADHD Kids With Heart Problems
There was no increased risk for death or changes in blood pressure or heart rate between those with and without a severe heart condition.

A new study finds that children with congenital heart disease and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can take stimulant medications without fear of significant cardiovascular side effects.

In a study presented at a national meeting this week, researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have found no increased risk for death or changes in cardiac vital signs, such as blood pressure or heart rate, even for children with ADHD and severe heart conditions. They also found that when treated with stimulant medications, patients had significant improvements in ADHD symptoms as measured by standardized rating scales.

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