Pre-Drug Heart Checks Urged for ADHD Kids

Ritalin and other stimulants carry slight risk of cardiac trouble
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2008 4:55 AM CDT
Pre-Drug Heart Checks Urged for ADHD Kids
Research has shown drugs like Ritalin can raise the heart rate and blood pressure, leading experts to call for children to have a heart checkup before taking the drugs.   ((c) thp365)

(Newser) – Children with ADHD should have their hearts checked for abnormalities before starting treatment with Ritalin or other stimulants, the American Heart Association warns. Serious heart problems have occurred in only a small fraction of the millions of children being treated for ADHD, but the group's experts say it's enough for concern, Reuters reports.

"It's a relatively inexpensive and simple test that doesn't hurt children in any way and it will let us identify some of these children and know that they have heart conditions," said the doctor making the recommendation. (Read more Ritalin stories.)

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