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Stimulant treatment in healthy young people with ADHD is not associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events

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Question: Is stimulant treatment associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events in young people with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)?

People: 171 126 youths between the age of 6 and 21 years without known cardiovascular risk factors, who had ADHD and were enrolled in a health plan with pharmacy coverage. Participants were those who had an initial first or second listed service claim for ADHD (ICD-9 code 314) after a period of eligibility of at least 180 days without an ADHD medical claim diagnosis and without any prescriptions for stimulants. Individuals were excluded if they had received a diagnosis of any of a list of ‘high-risk exclusion conditions’ or ‘high-risk censored events’ during the 180-day eligibility period. These conditions and events related to underlying general medical disorders that might increase risk of cardiovascular events or might affect the availability of information on the individual.

Setting: MarketScan Research Databases, privately insured population, USA; from 1996 to 2007.

Risk factors: Receipt of any methylphenidate and/or amphetamine salts intended for treatment of ADHD. Based on filled stimulant prescriptions, follow-up days were classified as ‘current use’, …

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  • Sources of funding National Institute of Mental Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Center for Education and Research on Mental Health Therapeutics.


  • Competing interests None.