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A heart check is recommended before taking ADHD drugs

The American Heart Association has released new guidelines urging children have a heart test before taking ADHD drugs.

The guidelines

Children diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should have a heart check, including an electrocardiogram, before starting stimulants such as Ritalin to treat ADHD, according to new guidelines by the American Heart Association.

The reason for the heart checks is to avoid the rare cases of sudden cardiac arrest that have been linked to ADHD medication.

Victoria Vetter, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and lead author of The Heart Association’s statement said, “The goal is to improve the care of children, including allowing them to have their ADHD treated and have it done safely.”

ADHD drugs

Drugs prescribed for ADHD include:

The Heart Association’s recommendations applies to all drugs used for controlling the symptoms of ADHD in children. The drugs act as a stimulant and have been linked to increases in blood pressure and heart rate. More seriously, children with underlying congenital heart disease may be susceptible to heartbeat irregularities which can cause cardiac arrest.


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