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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2013 Aug;15(8):379. doi: 10.1007/s11920-013-0379-y.

Cardiovascular safety of stimulants in children: findings from recent population-based cohort studies.

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Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, 1225 Center Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


The past decade has seen a heated debate over the cardiac safety of central nervous system stimulants in the treatment of ADHD. This review discusses five controlled population-based studies that investigated this risk in children in the United States. All studies utilized administrative claims data of private or public insurance to compare risk of stimulant use to non-use. Two studies with smaller sample size lacked the ability to investigate serious events but report a slightly increased risk of emergency department visits attributed to cardiac symptoms such as tachycardia or palpitation. Three studies that enrolled more than one million patients found no association between stimulants and composite endpoints of sudden cardiac death, myocardial infarction, stroke and ventricular arrhythmia. The studies concur that background rates of serious cardiovascular events in children are extremely small. No study exceeded an average follow-up of two years, prohibiting inferences about long-term effects of stimulants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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