Although there was some concern that taking medications, such as Ritalin, for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) might increase cardiovascular risks for adults, the results of a new study should help to allay these fears. Researchers from Kaiser Permanente Northern California found that there is no increased cardiovascular risk among adults who take these medications.
In a large study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers analyzed the health records of over 440,000 adults ages 25 to 64, including more than 150,000 patients who were taking drugs for ADHD. They found no increase in the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, or sudden heart-related deaths among the ADHD medication group compared to those who did not take these drugs. Additionally, there did not appear to be any increase in cardiovascular risk associated with longer use of the medications.
This finding is good news for the approximately 9 million adults in the U.S. with ADHD (approximately 4 percent of the adult population). About 1.5 million of these adults were taking stimulant-type medication for ADHD as of 2005, and that number is on the rise. This research coincides with the results of a previous study that showed no increase in cardiovascular risk among children taking drugs for ADHD.