Because attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children is now more frequently diagnosed, the number of prescribed medications against the disorder is also on the rise. However, Danish researchers have now found that taking psychostimulants increases the cardiovascular risk in children with ADHD.
The study, which involved 700,000 children in Denmark, was published in the “Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology”. Researchers from Denmark (Aarhus University, University of Southern Denmark in Odensee) carried out the study together with physicians from Norway (Hospital of Telemark) and the USA (Yale University in New Haven). 8,300 study subjects had ADHD.
The cardiovascular risk of psychostimulant use in the entire population was compared to that of ADHD children taking the medication. In general, the researchers found that taking psychostimulants increases the risk of cardiovascular events (by 80 percent). However, in children with ADHD the risk was twice as high – but this also depended on the dose and the duration of intake.
“This study confirms the small but real risk we have understood for some time through prior reports and clinical experience,” said Harold S. Koplewicz, editor-in-chief of the journal.