Ritalin for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatments might increase the risks of heart problems in children taking the medication, according to a recent study published in the BMJ and held by researchers from Australia, Canada, and South Korea.

ADHD is a psychiatric disorder that begins between 6-year-old and twelve-year-old kids. The disease causes attention problems, hyperactivity and difficulties in controlling behavior, which tends to cause problems in the children’s school and home environment.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that surfaces in some children of preschool or early school age. Credit: Sheknows.com

The disorder is one of the most commonly studied in the science world, yet investigations still haven’t managed to determine the cause of the disease that affects around 39 million people in the world.

ADHD treatments include several medicines that include commercial brands such as Ritalin, Daytrana, and Concerta, a recent study suggests that the drug increases heart problems in patients.

According to the study, Ritalin prescribed patients that have at least 61 percent chances of developing increased arrhythmias in the first couple of months.

Possible heart risks for children with ADHD

The research team investigated around 1,224  ADHD patients based in South Korea belonging to the South Korean National Health Insurance database. Patients rounded ages between 17 years and younger, most of the patients had presented cardiovascular problems while on the medicine.

On the South Korean database, around 864 ADHD patients were diagnosed with an abnormal heart rhythm, 396 patients were diagnosed with hypertension, 52 with myocardial infarctions, 67 patients were diagnosed with stroke and 44 patients with heart failure.

Rates of arrhythmia variated according to the days of using the medication, 61% of the cases presented just with two days of using the drug and the percentage increased by the time patients had three days of use.

“It will be important to replicate these findings in other populations and to understand the risk factors for children who experience these side effects. This information will help clinicians and parents weigh up the risks against the benefits of treatment particularly in mild cases of ADHD,” said  Nicole Pratt, senior researcher of the study to Medical Research.

Researchers explain that the findings reflect a possible case for children taking the medicine yet the events tend to be very rare since children don’t tend to suffer from cardiac diseases. According to the research cardiac events in children occur in a case of three out of 100,000 every year.

Although the possibilities are distant, physicians and pediatricians should take the study’s result into account before prescribing an ADHD young patient with this type of medicine, and submit them into possible risks.

Source: BMJ