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Cardiovascular Safety of Methylphenidate Among Children and Young People With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Nationwide Self Controlled Case Series Study

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Cardiovascular Safety of Methylphenidate Among Children and Young People With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Nationwide Self Controlled Case Series Study

Ju-Young Shin et al. BMJ.

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether treatment with methylphenidate in children and young people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was associated with cardiovascular events.

Design: Self controlled case series analysis.

Setting: Nationwide health insurance database, 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2011, in South Korea.

Participants: 1224 patients aged ≤17 who had experienced an incident cardiovascular event and had had at least one incident prescription for methylphenidate.

Main outcome measures: A recorded diagnosis (either a primary or secondary cause) of any of the following cardiovascular adverse events: arrhythmias (ICD-10 (international classification of diseases, 10th revision) codes I44, I45, I47, I48, I49), hypertension (codes I10-I15), myocardial infarction (code I21), ischemic stroke (code I63), or heart failure (code I50). Incidence rate ratios were calculated with conditional Poisson regression and adjusted for time varying comorbidity and comedication.

Results: Increased risk of arrhythmia was observed in all exposed time periods-that is, periods of treatment with methylphenidate-(incidence rate ratio 1.61, 95% confidence interval 1.48 to 1.74), and the risk was highest in the children who had congenital heart disease. No significant risk of myocardial infarction was observed for all exposed time periods (1.33, 0.90 to 1.98), though risk was higher in the early risk periods between eight and 56 days after the start of treatment with methylphenidate. No significant increased risk was observed for hypertension, ischemic stroke, or heart failure.

Conclusion: The relative risk of myocardial infarction and arrhythmias is increased in the early period after the start of methylphenidate treatment for ADHD in children and young people. Though the absolute risk is likely to be low, the risk-benefit balance of methylphenidate should be carefully considered, particularly in children with mild ADHD.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare: no support from any organization for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organizations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

Figures

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Fig 1 Design of self controlled case series study in children and young people with ADHD and cardiovascular adverse events
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Fig 2 Selection of study participants from national health insurance database in self controlled case series design in children and young people with ADHD and cardiovascular adverse events

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