ADHD medications get stronger warnings

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ADHD medications get stronger warnings

Stronger warning labels for certain ADHD medications are in place.

What happened? Stronger warning labels regarding the safety of several medications used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are now in place.

In February 2006, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel recommended adding strong (black-box) warnings about potential heart attacks and other cardiovascular risks — including stroke, high blood pressure, palpitations and arrhythmia — for some people taking certain ADHD drugs.

Another advisory panel considered whether the FDA should strengthen warnings about rare psychiatric side effects such as mania, psychosis and suicidal thinking.

In May 2006, the FDA decided that black-box warnings weren't justified in either case. Instead, the FDA asked manufacturers simply to strengthen the warnings about serious cardiovascular and psychiatric events linked with ADHD medications.

ADHD medications now featuring the stronger warnings include Dexedrine, Adderall and Concerta. Possible changes to other ADHD medications — including Ritalin and Strattera — are under review.

What does this mean to you? The potential side effects of various ADHD medications are serious, especially if you have a personal or family history of heart problems. The new warnings encourage doctors to check for a family history or physical signs of heart problems before prescribing ADHD medications.

If you or someone in your family is taking ADHD medications, talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks.

Last Updated: 08/23/2006
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