This case-control study, conducted by Zhang L, Li L, Andell P, et al., explores the potential cardiovascular implications of long-term attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication use. ADHD is a prevalent psychiatric disorder treated primarily with pharmacological therapies, and the use of ADHD medications has surged in recent years. While the efficacy of these medications has been demonstrated in short-term studies, concerns linger regarding their cardiovascular safety. Previous research has reported increases in heart rate and blood pressure associated with ADHD medications, yet these studies primarily focused on short-term effects, leaving uncertainties about the long-term cardiovascular risks. Analyzing data from 278,027 individuals aged 6 to 64 with ADHD diagnoses or medication dispensation, the study reveals that a longer cumulative duration of ADHD medication use, up to 14 years, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), particularly hypertension and arterial disease. Notably, the risk rises rapidly in the first three years of medication use and stabilizes thereafter. Each one-year increase in ADHD medication use is linked to a 4% higher risk of CVD. These findings underscore the importance of clinicians carefully considering potential risks and benefits when deciding on long-term ADHD medication use, emphasizing the need for regular monitoring of patients for cardiovascular signs and symptoms during treatment.
Zhang L et al. JAMA Psychiatry. Epub ahead of print. Abstract.