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Study finds ADHD drug heart threat.

Byline: ELLA PICKOVER Reporter @eveingchron

A CONTROVERSIAL hyperactivity drug prescribed to hundreds of North East children has been linked to an increased risk of heart rhythm problems.

A new study found Ritalin - frequently used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - is associated with an increased risk of abnormal heart rhythm in children and young people shortly after the start of treatment. A team of researchers from Australia, Canada and South Korea looked at more than 100,000 children prescribed methylphenidate - a central nervous system stimulant used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. The drug is sold under various trade names, Ritalin being one of the most commonly known.

Their study, published by The BMJ, examined 1,224 patients in the South Korea National Health Insurance Database aged 17 or under who had also experienced an "incident cardiovascular event".

This included 864 patients with arrhythmias (an abnormal heart rhythm), 396 with hypertension, 52 with myocardial infarctions, 67 with stroke, and 44 with heart failure.

Cases of arrhythmia were 61% more likely to have occurred during the first two months of use compared with periods of nonuse, they found.

And risk was even higher in the first three days of use.

The risk was more pronounced in children with existing congenital heart disease.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 1, 2016
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