Although drugs used to treat attention problems can boost heart rate and blood pressure, they don’t appear to increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke or sudden death in adults, according to a new study.
The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, are based on an assessment of more than 150,000 adults diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Those who took the drugs did not suffer from more cardiovascular problems than abstainers. The results follow on the heels of a similar study that indicated the drugs aren’t linked to serious heart problems in adolescents.
But the researchers acknowledged they can’t completely exonerate these medications without conducting a full-scale clinical trial in which patients are randomly assigned to take either a drug or placebo and then followed for a period of years. “We can’t rule out the possibility of a slight or modest increase in risk,” study co-author Alan Go of Kaiser Permanente said in a statement. “Patients should discuss use of the drugs with their physicians and be closely monitored.”