SciAdv: taking medication for ADHD may weaken the heart

March 28, 2024  20:23

Researchers at the University of Colorado have found that taking ADHD medications such as Adderall or Ritalin can lead to arrhythmias, heart failure and cardiac arrest. The findings are published in the journal Science Advances (SciAdv).

ADHD is a neurological-behavioural developmental disorder in which hyperactivity is pronounced along with deficits in attention and concentration. To improve performance in such pathology, medication with drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin has recently been used.

To find out what effect this class of drugs can have on health, scientists analysed data from about 26 thousand people with ADHD and healthy volunteers aged 20 to 40 years. After obtaining the necessary information about the participants and undergoing examinations, they began a phase of observation of the subjects, which lasted about 10 years.

At the end of the follow-up, the researchers found that people with ADHD were 17% more likely to develop cardiomyopathy after one year of taking the medication compared to healthy individuals. Cardiomyopathy is a myocardial disease of unknown etiology, the main signs of which are cardiomegaly (increased heart size) and/or heart failure. It also found that long-term use of the drugs (more than eight years) was associated with a 57 per cent increase in similar risk.

The study authors noted that cardiomyopathy can disrupt the heart rhythm, leading to arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats). Long-term consequences of arrhythmias include life-threatening stroke, heart failure, or cardiac arrest.

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