Medication Monitor

Generic Name (Trade Name—Company)
December 15, 2011

Stimulants and atomoxetine

(Multiple products—Multiple manufacturers)
ADHD medications safe in adults

Results from two recently completed epidemiologic studies assessing the cardiovascular safety of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications in adults did not show an increased risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events in adults treated with these medications, according to an FDA safety communication. Data from 150,359 current adult users of ADHD medications and 292,540 nonusers were assessed in these two studies.

Compared with nonusers, adults taking ADHD medications had a statistically similar rate of serious cardiovascular events (i.e., myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death, or stroke; adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.83, 95% confidence limits 0.72–0.96). An analysis of past ADHD drug users as the comparison group also found no significant increase in cardiovascular events with ADHD drug use (adjusted rate ratio 1.03, 95% confidence limits 0.86–1.24).

The agency recommends that stimulant products and atomoxetine should generally not be used in patients with serious heart problems or when an increase in blood pressure or heart rate would be problematic. In addition, patients treated with ADHD medications should be periodically monitored for changes in heart rate or blood pressure.