Long-Term Exposure to ADHD Meds Linked to Increased Risk for CVD

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4 percent increase in risk for CVD seen in association with each one-year increase in ADHD meds across 14 years of follow-up

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Long-term exposure to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD), especially hypertension, according to a study published online Nov. 22 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Le Zhang, Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues examined the association between long-term ADHD medication use and risk for CVD in a case-control study involving individuals in Sweden aged 6 to 64 years with an incident diagnosis of ADHD or ADHD medication dispensation between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2020.

The researchers matched 10,388 individuals with CVD with 51,672 controls without CVD. Compared with nonuse, longer cumulative duration of ADHD medication use was associated with an increased risk for CVD (adjusted odds ratios, 1.09, 1.15, 1.27, and 1.23 for one to no more than two years, two to no more than three years, three to no more than five years, and more than five years, respectively). An increased risk for hypertension was seen in association with longer cumulative ADHD medication use (adjusted odds ratios, 1.72 and 1.80 for three to no more than five years and more than five years, respectively); the risk for arterial disease was also increased. Each one-year increase of ADHD medication use was associated with an increased risk for CVD across the 14-year follow-up (adjusted odds ratio, 1.04), with a larger increase seen in the first three years of cumulative use (adjusted odds ratio, 1.08). The patterns were similar for children and youth and for adults.

“Monitoring becomes even more crucial considering the increasing number of individuals engaging in long-term use of ADHD medication,” the authors write.

One author disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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