ADHD Meds Didn’t Increase Stroke Risk

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Stimulant treatment for ADHD not linked to increased stroke in kids

February 12, 2014 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

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(dailyRx News) Stimulants are known to increase stroke risk in adults. But what does this mean for the five million kids between 5 and 17 who have ADHD, many of whom will be treated with stimulants?

Researchers found that medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were not associated with stroke in children.

These researchers presented their findings this week at an international scientific meeting of the American Heart Association.

"Make sure your child gets regular check-ups with a pediatrician."

Nancy K. Hills, PhD, MBA, from the University of California in San Francisco, led a group of researchers who studied the association between stimulant use for ADHD and stroke risk.

This research team studied 2.5 million kids younger than 20 years old. The children were studied over 14 years between 1993 and 2007. Healthcare records were reviewed to find the children who had a stroke diagnosis. Electronic pharmacy records were used to collect information on medications taken by the study's participants.

Dr. Hills and her team compared 258 children who took stimulants for their ADHD and were diagnosed with stroke with 1,030 children who took stimulants but did not have a stroke.The participants had been taking stimulants for an average of 322 to 377 days.

When the researchers analyzed the data for a link between stroke risk and stimulant use over the 14-year period of the study, they found no association. There was no correlation of stroke and the use of ADHD medications at the time of stroke or at any time before the stroke.

The researchers presented their findings in February at the American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference.

Dr. Hills disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Institues of Health and the American Heart Association.

Review Date: 
February 11, 2014
Last Updated:
February 13, 2014