Drugs to treat attention difficulties do not increase the risk of heart problems in children and teenagers. Reports of several unexpected heart attacks and strokes in this age group in 2006 prompted the study, which included approximately 1.2 million children. Stimulant medications such as amphetamine or methylphenidate, known by the brand name Ritalin, are frequently prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. The large databases analyzed in the study did not show any increase in cardiovascular risk among youngsters taking such medication. In other words, there was no increase in heart attacks, strokes or sudden cardiac death. The FDA continues to recommend, however, that patients with serious heart problems should avoid such stimulant drugs.
[New England Journal of Medicine, Online, Nov. 1, 2011]