AHRQ, FDA collaborating to determine whether ADHD drugs cause heart attacks
Two U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services – the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the U.S. FDA – will collaborate in a comprehensive study of prescription medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the potential risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems.

The study will include the clinical data of about 500,000 children and adults, who have taken ADHD medications, to determine whether those drugs increase cardiovascular risks since these medications can increase heart rate and blood pressure.

The analysis follows an FDA-sponsored preliminary study that compiled data from healthcare databases on prescription drug use, inpatient care, outpatient treatment, and health outcomes, including death. Based on those results, researchers specified their search to people who took ADHD drugs during a seven-year period ending in 2005.

AHRQ, which sponsors research on clinical effectiveness and safety, will collaborate with the FDA to complete the data analysis.
The analysis will incorporate all drugs currently marketed for ADHD treatment and will take about two years to complete. Researchers on contract through AHRQ’s Effective Health Care program at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., will coordinate the study.