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Study Says ADHD Meds Rarely Result in Hallucinations

While hallucinations can be a side effect of ADHD medication, a review of clinical trials has found the occurrence is rare.

HealthDay News reported the following about research conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
The FDA experts reviewed the results of 49 randomized, placebo-controlled trials and asked drug manufacturers to analyze their post-marketing surveillance databases. They found that 11 psychosis or mania episodes occurred for every 743 person-years of treatment.
According to HealthDay News, Dr. Roy Boorady, director of the psychopharmacology service at New York Universitys Child Study Center, said sleep problems and loss of appetite are much more common side effects of ADHD medications.

Dr. William Cohen of the Child Development Unit, Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh, reminded parents that side effects are common with any medication, and occurrences should be discussed with a child's doctors.

Labels: medications, side_effects

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Drug Company Wants Study Information Kept from Public

Makers of the drug Seroquel are attempting to keep sealed hundreds of pages of drug study results, saying it is in the public's best interest. About 15,000 patients who have been prescribed the drug disagree, and have filed over 9,000 personal injury lawsuits stating the drug has caused weight gain and diabetes.
"Seroquel is approved only for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but its use for everything from depression to insomnia to ADHD in kids is so widespread that the drug has been prescribed for more than 22 million patients."
The company's maker, AstraZeneca, says releasing the documents "could jeopardize public safety by causing confusion and alarm in patients, who may then discontinue their medication..." A hearing is scheduled to take place in Orlando this month - a hearing AstraZeneca wants closed to the public because sensitive information will be discussed. Source: St. Petersburg Times

Labels: medications, side_effects, drug_study

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Study: Popular ADHD Meds Don't Increase Cancer Risk

Three widely prescribed medications for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall - do not cause genetic damage linked to an increased risk of cancer, according to research from Duke University. This new study refutes a previous one that showed that methylphenidate, the active ingredient in Ritalin and Concerta, is associated with increased risk for cancer.

The new Duke study used a larger sample size and a wider cross-section of children with Attention Deficit Disorder compared to previous studies.

"We looked at three common markers associated with damaged chromosomes and did not find increased genetic abnormalities in children taking either medication, regardless of a variety of factors, such as age, sex, body weight, height, race, and ADHD subtype," said author Scott Kollins. Kollins was referring to methylphenidate and amphetamine, the active ingredient in Adderall.

About two million American children have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

This study appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Labels: medications, side_effects, cancer

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Ritalin Warning

The British advisory body that determines guidelines for doctors has warned that Ritalin should only be prescribed to children as a last resort. The organization has also advised that children under five not be given the medication at all.
"[The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence], which decides on the guidelines given to doctors, says parents should be taught how to manage their child's disorder instead. The advisory body and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health are aiming to provide a blueprint of best practice with the new guidelines."
The cause of ADHD is uncertain, though both genetic and environmental factors are thought to be factors. Source: Southern FM (Brighton, UK)

Labels: medications, side_effects, pediatricians

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Medication Should be Taken After Breakfast

School breakfast programs are provided at many public schools and help ensure that students get the food and fuel they need for their day. But the programs can cause unexpected issues for children who take medication for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Children who participate in school breakfast programs often take their medication before leaving the house. Not only can that cause serious side effects, but it can reduce the effectiveness of the medication, making it difficult to gauge how well the medicine is working.
"All stimulants often create significant medications problems when given on an empty stomach - from Concerta, to Adderall, to Vyvanse, and even the non-stimulant, less effective Strattera, should be given to children following breakfast."
Source: CorePsych

Labels: medications, side_effects, interactions

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Toddler Overdoses on Prescription Drug

A Lubbock, Texas, mother is in custody pending possible criminal charges after her toddler overdosed on medication designed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The woman gave the medication to her two-year-old daughter, who doesn't have ADHD, which caused the child to become sick and unresponsive.
"'In this particular instance, you're dealing with ADHD and ADD. That particular treatment is designed to offset chemical imbalances in the brain, and if that medication is not intended for that particular individual, you can get all kinds of bad effects,' [Lubbock Police Sergeant Ross] Hester said."
The girl and her sibling are now in protective custody, and their mother faces child-endangerment charges. Source: KCBD TV

Labels: medications, side_effects, preschoolers

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ADHD Medicines

There is a large variety of ADHD medications out there. For the parent of a child with ADHD, the options can seem overwhelming and confusing. FamilyDoctor.org has gathered answers to the basic questions that parents often have about ADHD prescriptions.
"Do the medicines have side effects? All medicines have side effects. Psychostimulants may cause a decreased appetite, a stomachache or a headache. The loss of appetite can cause weight loss in some people. This side effect seems to be more common in children."
Other questions addressed include "How should ADHD medicine be taken?" and "How long will this treatment last?" Read more at FamilyDoctor.org.

Labels: medications, side_effects, advice

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Heart Events Rare in Kids on ADHD Drugs

Researchers from the University of Florida have released the results of a study in which they analyzed medical records of 55,000 children under the age of 18, to determine whether ADHD medication increases the risk of serious heart complications. They found that, though higher blood pressure and heart rates were somewhat common, more serious events like cardiac arrest were rare.
"Stimulant use was found to be associated with a 20% increase in visits to hospital ERs or doctors' offices for complaints such as heart palpitations and racing heartbeat, compared with nonuse. But use of the drugs did not appear to be associated with an increase in hospitalizations or deaths due to cardiac causes."
Researchers agree that the results are reassuring, but that a larger study is needed to confirm the safety of ADHD medications.

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Labels: medications, health, side_effects

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Benefits and Side Effects of Concerta

Concerta was the first time-released formula ever marketed for the treatment of ADHD. The once-daily treatment is one of several options for treating ADHD symptoms, and has both benefits and side effects of which parents should be aware.
"The Concerta capsule has an outer coat of medication that dissolves quickly, and then two small compartments of medication inside that release gradually. The time-released system of the Concerta capsule provides up to 12-hour coverage and provides more even coverage for ADHD symptoms but there are a few drawbacks with the capsule form."
One drawback is that, because of the pill's design, it can't be cut to decrease the dosage. Also, because of the 12-hour coverage, the drug's manufacturer suggests skipping a day's dose if it isn't taken early in the morning. The 12-hour time-release also means that normal sleep patterns may still be disrupted even if the pill is taken early. As with any medication, a doctor should be consulted before a final decision is made, and prescription instructions should be carefully followed.

Labels: medications, treatment, side_effects

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Study Planned for Heart Risks Associated with ADHD Medication

In the largest study of its kind ever to be conducted, researchers will be looking into possible correlations between ADHD medication and cardiovascular risks. Supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, researchers will study the clinical data of about 500,000 people (adults and children) who have treated ADHD with medication.
"Because medications used to treat ADHD can increase heart rate and blood pressure, there are concerns about the drugs' potential to increase cardiac risks. It is also thought these risks may be different for adults and children, but more evidence is needed about the long-term effects of using ADHD medications."
The study will be coordinated by Vanderbilt University and will analyze the effects of every drug that is currently used to treat ADHD. Completion of the study is expected to take two years.

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Labels: medications, long_term_effects, side_effects

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Drugs aren't Only Option for ADD/ADHD

Last year, doctors wrote more than 31 million prescriptions for ADHD drugs, many of them for children. Counselor Jane Fendelman wants parents to know that medication is not the only option, and some medicines have serious side effects.
"'They can cause early onset of Parkinson's disease, Tourette's syndrome, suicidal ideation, stunted growth, the children can't eat,' Jane Fendelman said about legal drugs parents are giving their children to control attention deficit disorders."
In fact, the FDA has required that many ADHD medications include stronger warnings about side effects like manic behavior. Fendelman suggests that first parents try a change in the child's diet, a more structured routine, and reduced stress in the house. Read more at News14.com.

Labels: medications, alternative_medicine, side_effects

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Some Doctors Prescribing Adderall "Off Label"

Adderall is one of the most well-known and frequently-used medications for controlling symptoms associated with ADHD. As with any prescription medication, it has side effects  one of which is weight loss. Some doctors have begun prescribing Adderall to young patients who are overweight, even if they don't have ADHD.
"[Dr. Fuad] Ziai says about 90 percent of his patients on Adderall have lost weight. He credits Adderall (along with a prescription for Glucophage, a diabetes medication) with helping [children] avert diabetes."
Prescribing a medication for its side effects (like weight loss) rather for its primary use is called prescribing "off label", and is not uncommon. Though Dr. Ziai stands by his use of Adderall to treat obese children who seem unable to lose weight, others in the medical community question whether such actions are ethical. Read more at CNN.com.

Labels: medications, side_effects, childhood_obesity

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