4 May 2015
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ADHD Drugs Cause Heart Problems, Chiropractic and Nutrition a Natural Option

On this morning’s health watch, a new warning about ADHD medications and children. And estimated 2.5 million children currently take stimulants like Ritalin. Now a new study sheds light on the association between sudden cardiac death with some of this types of drugs. Here this morning a very young doctor, Jennifer Ashton. Good morning.

Dr. Ashton Answer: Good morning Julie!

Tell us more about this study. It is sounds terrible.

Dr. Ashton Answer: Well, this is the latest study it was small, so that is a limitation, but it did show a significant association between teens and children on medication for ADHD and an increase risk of sudden cardiac death. Now that sounds very frightening and all parents are always concerned about worst-case scenario. The good news is that sudden cardiac death while it affects 300,000 people in the country a year is a rare event only a minority of that number is teenagers. So it’s just the latest study it is more information it needs to be done.

So what do researchers think is the possible link between taking drugs treat, attention-deficit and cardiac arrest.

Dr. Ashton Answer: Well it’s very important associations. All of them class of medication use for ADHD belong to a stimulant class known as amphetamines and they do have very potent effects on the body. They increase the heart rate, they can increase the blood pressure, and they help with focus and attention. In that manner, they can also in a troubling matter be used as a drug abuse and there is a questionable small but increase risk of sudden cardiac death, and this study is the latest in that shows that association.

Are there certain groups of children who are more susceptible to sudden cardiac arrest or seven cardiac death, if their are on drive?

Dr. Ashton Answer: It does appear that there are, and the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics have published loose guidelines that clearly state that before a child gets placed on these medications, a very targeted history and physical exam should be done if there’s a family history of sudden cardiac death, or if the child has had fainting spells, or other cardiac problems especially in their rhythm heart rate, then further study is like any EKG really should be done.

So what are the alternatives? like, what your parents do if they are concerned here in this morning?

Dr. Ashton Answer: First of all, not stop any medication without speaking to their pediatrician. Ask about whether or not further study should be done and it should be monitored with an EKG and if that’s done it should be read by a pediatric cardiologists because there can be a wide range of normal. And lastly, there have been studies have shown that alternative or complementary therapies even like chiropractic care or dietary changes can be beneficial in some children who are on ADHD medication.

In place of?
Dr. Ashton Answer: Either in place of or in conjunction with. So again, explore your options and weigh the risks versus the benefits.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, thanks so much.

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