US health regulators are urging to continued use of drugs for ADHD despite research which shows they can increase the risk of sudden death.
The study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, found a link between the use of stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall and sudden death in children and adolescents.
According to the study from the National Institute of Mental Health, which was partially funded by Food and Drug Administration (FDA), healthy children taking ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder) medications were six to seven times more likely to die suddenly for unexplained reasons than their peers.
The drugs already carry warnings about risks of heart attack and stroke in children with underlying heart conditions, but questions have been raised whether they pose the same risk to children without those problems.
Although the the latest research suggests that healthy children are also at risk from sudden death, agency experts said the research, which relied on interviews with parents years after a child’s death, may have included errors.
As a result the FDA is informing parents to keep children on the drugs and to discuss safety concerns with their doctor.
The FDA said it is now collecting data for a larger, more in-depth study of the drugs’ risks.