Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of
the most common disorders among children. Physicians often prescribe
medications to treat the symptoms of ADHD with very limited proof that a child
is truly affected by ADHD. The common prescription medications used to treat
ADHD are Ritalin and Adderall, both stimulants. The American Heart Association
is now urging consumers and medical professions to require those children being
placed on these stimulant therapies to first undergo an electrocardiogram, to
test for possible heart problems, before beginning treatment.
The group said it is
not clear that these medications increase a child’s risk of sudden cardiac
death, but issued the new recommendations out of an abundance of caution.
The has been some concern in the past that some
children may be at a greater risk of sudden cardiac arrest while taking
medication to treat ADHD. Between 1999 and 2004, 19 children taking ADHD
medications suddenly died and another 26 experienced cardiovascular events,
like strokes or car5diac arrest. The American Heart Association also believes
that ADHD may be more common amongst children with heart conditions. It must be
remembered that these instances are very rare; 35 incidents out of the millions
of children taking these medications should not cause an overwhelming concern,
but the AHA believes that if this simple procedure can identify higher risk
patients, it could provide a safer experience all around.