ACC: Small but Significant Risk for Cardiomyopathy Seen With ADHD Meds

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Risk for cardiomyopathy increased with duration of treatment for adults aged 20 to 40 years with ADHD

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 28, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Young adults prescribed stimulant medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have an increased risk for cardiomyopathy, with the risk increasing with duration of treatment, according to a study scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology, held from April 6 to 8 in Atlanta.

Pauline Gerard, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study to examine the relationship between cardiomyopathy and duration of stimulant medication use in adults diagnosed with ADHD aged 20 to 40 years. The window of analysis was limited to 30 years after ADHD diagnosis.

A total of 12,759 pairs of patients categorized by the presence or absence of stimulant medication prescription with a decade-long record were matched. The researchers found that the prevalence of cardiomyopathy was 0.36 and 0.31 percent in the one-year stimulant and nonstimulant groups, respectively. This prevalence increased to 0.72 and 0.53 percent in the 10-year stimulant and nonstimulant groups, respectively. The one-year stimulant group had higher odds of cardiomyopathy (odds ratio, 1.17), which increased at eight years (odds ratio, 1.57), then decreased slightly at 10 years (odds ratio, 1.37).

“The longer you leave patients on these medications, the more likely they are to develop cardiomyopathy, but the risk of that is very low,” Gerard said in a statement.

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