New Study Show Stimulant Meds Increase Cardiovascular Events

New Study Show Stimulant Meds Increase Cardiovascular Events
What every parent should know

Read More: http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/adolescents-and-teen-health-news-719/adhd-drugs-may-up-risk-of-heart-problems-689468.html

 

(HealthDay News) — Stimulant use in children and adolescents is associated with an increased risk of a subsequent cardiovascular event, according to a study published online June 23 in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology.

Søren Dalsgaard, MD, PhD, from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues conducted a longitudinal prospective study of all children born in Denmark from 1990–1999. The authors sought to examine whether stimulant users are at increased risk of a subsequent cardiovascular event. Data were collected from national health registers on psychiatric and somatic diagnoses, stimulant prescriptions, cardiovascular risk factors, and pre- and perinatal and sociodemographic covariates. Data were merged for children and their parents.

Using data for a total population of 714,258 children, contributing 6,767,982 person-years, the researchers found that stimulant use correlated with an increased risk of a cardiovascular event (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.83). Stimulant treatment also increased the risk of a cardiovascular event in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; 8,300 children; adjusted hazard ratio, 2.20), with evidence of a complex time-dependent, dose-response association.

“Cardiovascular events were rare but twice as likely in stimulant users as in nonusers, both in the total national population and in children with ADHD,” the authors write. “Our results suggest a safety signal with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with stimulant treatment in children and adolescents, even after adjusting for a number of potential confounders.”

ADHD ‘Inextricably’ Linked to Substance Abuse

New study says parents beware

Abstract:  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/134/1/e293.abstract

The journal Pediatrics published a study (June 30) which found that children with ADHD are 2 times more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence and more than 2.5 times more likely to develop a substance use disorder (SUD). Additionally, ADHD children are twice as likely to develop cocaine abuse or dependence.

Is there any good news? The researchers noted that stimulant medication may reduce the risk for trying drugs and developing an SUD. Prior studies both contradict and confirm this.

The study’s authors warn, “Individuals with co-occurring ADHD and active SUDs require a careful, individual risk/benefit assessment regarding the safety of prescribing a stimulant medication. Longer acting preparations of stimulant medication, the prodrug formulation of dextroamphetamine, and nonstimulant medications for ADHD all have lower abuse potential than short-acting preparations of stimulant medication and, thus, their use should be strongly considered if there is a high risk of misuse, diversion, or abuse of stimulant medications.”

“Misuse and diversion of stimulant medications are more widespread problems than abuse or addiction,” the report states. What is diversion? Diversion is your child not using the medication as prescribed, but rather selling it to someone else.

The report indicates that prior research suggests that between 16% and 23% of school-aged children are approached to sell, buy, or trade their stimulant medication.

Surge in women taking drugs for ADHD

Surge in women taking drugs for ADHD
What’s behind this?

From Newsday: http://www.newsday.com/news/health/surge-in-women-taking-drugs-for-adhd-1.7372481

“The number of Americans taking attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medicines rose 36% in 2012 from 2008, led by a surge among women, according to drug-benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co.

Use of the medications grew 85 percent in 2012 from 2008 for women ages 26 to 34, and women 19 and over now outnumber men in use of the medicines, according to the report released yesterday. Boys 12 to 18 years old are the most heavily prescribed, with about 9.3 percent on ADHD drugs in 2012.

Almost 4.8 million privately insured people were on ADHD medicines in 2012, the report said. Those with the disorder have problems paying attention, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.”

How does one explain the incredible increase in ADHD medication use especially among women ages 26 to 34? Is it due to increased stress? The demands of home and work? Better marketing among these women? Can a pill fix these problems?

Your opinions are welcome.

Toddlers Being Prescribed ADHD Meds

Toddlers Being Prescribed ADHD Meds

Read more: http://www.inquisitr.com/1259397/cdc-finds-shocking-number-of-toddlers-medicated-for-adhd-medicaid-recipients-especially-vulnerable/

The Centers for Disease Control reports that Medicaid claims in Georgia reveal 1 in 225 toddlers are medicated for ADHD – that’s 760 cases in the state alone. The CDC estimates that more than 10,000 toddlers may be taking ADHD medications.

Dr. Lawrence H. Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif. and author of The Last Normal Child said, “People prescribing to 2-year-olds are just winging it. It is outside the standard of care, and they should be subject to malpractice if something goes wrong with a kid.”

Dr. Ed Hallowell, a noted child psychiatrist and ADHD expert appeared on Fox and Friends. He said it’s “crazy” that toddlers are being given drugs like Adderall and Ritalin.

“People are looking for a quick solution to the age-old problem of rambunctious little toddlers,” he said. “The solution is not to give them medication. The solution is to play with them, to be with them, to take care of them. Not to give them a pill in the hopes
that’ll quiet them down.”

Prescriptions for toddlers are being granted despite the fact that ADHD medication has not been studied for this group. Indeed the American Academy of Pediatrics does not even broach the subject of ADHD medication in toddlers (children under 4 years old).

Two year olds are notably rambunctious. Most experts agree that it’s far too early to diagnose ADHD at age 2. Your opinions are welcome.

NASA Features Play Attention

NASA Features Play Attention
NASA Spinoff magazine reveals Play Attention’s space connection

Play Attention was inspired by research done at NASA. Dr. Alan Pope’s experiments on astronaut attention provided the basis for Play Attention which enhanced NASA’s technology.

Play Attention’s founder, Peter Freer, made the technology easy to use for any family or professional. Play Attention is now the global leader in assistive technology for ADHD.

Read for full article here on page 86: http://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2013/pdf/Spinoff2013.pdf

A Little Play Attention Goes A Long Way

A Little Play Attention Goes A Long Way
Additude Magazine
A Little Neurofeedback Goes a Long Way
www.additudemag.com
One more study shows that controlling brain waves…

ADHD Drugs Affect Growth Rates

ADHD Drugs Affect Growth Rates
Obesity? Weight loss? Both?

Read more: http://www.imt.ie/clinical/2014/04/adhd-treatment-drugs-affect-bmi-growth-rates.html

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that ADHD children treated with stimulant medication initially have slower body mass index (BMI) growth than their untreated peers. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The researchers found that the slow growth of BMI was followed by a rapid rebound of BMI that was greater than that of children with no history of ADHD or stimulant medication use and that could continue to obesity.

The researchers found that the earlier the medication was given coupled with the longer the medication was taken resulted in slower BMI growth in earlier childhood but then the more rapid the BMI rebound in late adolescence, typically after medication was discontinued. Researchers concluded that stimulant use, and not a diagnosis of ADHD, was associated with higher BMI and obesity.

“Our findings should motivate greater attention to the possibility that longer-term stimulant use plays a role in the development of obesity in children,” said study lead, Prof . Brian Schwartz of Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology and Medicine at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Given the dramatic rise in ADHD diagnosis and stimulant treatment in recent decades, this is an interesting avenue of research regarding the childhood obesity epidemic, because the rises in each of these roughly parallel one another.”

Earlier research has noted decreased appetite and weight loss as being associated with stimulant medication use. This is the first comprehensive study to find low BMI rebounding to obesity even after discontinuation of the drug.

Many stimulants used to control ADHD symptoms were once used or initially invented as weight loss drugs.

ADHD and Sex

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask
ADHD can significantly disrupt a relationship. The Huffington Post has a great interview with Ari Tuckman PsyD MBA that discusses ADHD and sex drive, sex problems, marriage and sex, novelty, STDs, and more.

ADHD and Sex: An Interview with Ari Tuckman PsyD MBA
www.huffingtonpost.com
As in any other relationship, it’s important to be able to talk openly and honestly about sexual desires and concerns. However, in order to be able to have good conversations in bed, you have to be having good conversations outside of bed, too — and…

Testing, Schools, and the Future of Education

Testing, Schools, and the Future of Education
by Sir Ken Robinson
Whether you agree with him or not, Ken Robinson will shed some light on the current status of education. A great video.

Changing education paradigms
www.ted.com
In this talk from RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson lays out the link between 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools’ dwindling stake in the arts, and ADHD. An important, timely talk for parents and teachers.

School Testing and the Rising Rate of ADHD

A new book finds a startling connection

Read the Interview: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/could-school-testing-be-driving-adhd-n55661

Is the increased demand for performance behind the increased diagnoses of ADHD? Two University of California professors have released a book this month titled, “The ADHD Explosion.” They call it a “reality check” for parents, providers, educators and politicians.

The Berkeley professors, Dr. Stephen Hinshaw and Dr. Richard Scheffler, are noted researchers on ADHD. Their research tells them that federal policy issues may be behind the recent explosion in cases of ADHD.

“When you look at that [national testing policy], you get the
closest thing there is to a smoking gun,” says Dr.Scheffler.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, found that rates of ADHD in California have jumped by 24% since 2001. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports increases from 7.8 percent in 2003 to
9.5 percent in 2007 and to 11 percent in 2011— a rate of 5 percent a year.

It looks for all the world like a growing epidemic. But ADHD wasn’t even something people noticed until recently,” says Hinshaw.

“It started about the same time in history that we made kids go to school,” Hinshaw told NBC News in an interview.

Then come the 1990s, and a crisis of falling test scores. “What happened is that a number of states began to pass accountability laws,” Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw and Scheffler examined the correlation between diagnoses of ADHD and maps of states that had passed accountability laws.

According to NBC News, by the turn of the century, 30 states had passed accountability laws. They tended to be Republican-leaning states in the South, such as North Carolina. In 2007, 15.6 percent of all children in North Carolina had been diagnosed with ADHD at some point, including nearly one in three teenage boys.

Two things happening together don’t prove a correlation. Is it coincidence? Hinshaw and Scheffler were persuaded to look further.

AN NBC News article reports that the professors then examined date related to the No Child Left Behind federal policy enacted in 2002. It was one of the first official acts of President George W. Bush after he took office.NCLB required standardized testing to show if schools were, in fact, educating students. A truly salient aspect of NCLB was that it held teachers and principals directly responsible for the results and removed federal and state bureaucrats who mandate curriculum and educational policy.

According to the NBC News article:

“Now what happens is a natural experiment,” says Hinshaw. The other states raced to write accountability laws, requiring schools to show they are actually educating children.

“When you incentivize test scores above all else, there is probably pressure to get kids diagnosed with ADHD.”

Hinshaw and Scheffler compared ADHD rates in the 30 states that had been requiring testing with the 20 states that had to play catchup.

Rates of ADHD diagnoses soared.

“Children ages 8 to 13, living in low-income homes and in states without previous consequential accountability laws, went from a 10 percent to a 15.3 percent rate of ADHD diagnoses once No Child Left Behind started,” they wrote. That’s a 53 percent increase over four years.

California’s current rate, post-testing? It’s 7.3 percent. North
Carolina’s rate actually fell slightly, to 14.4 percent in 2011.

“When you incentivize test scores above all else, there is probably pressure to get kids diagnosed with ADHD,” Hinshaw said. “We know from our own research that medication not only makes you less fidgety but also can bump up your test scores.”

That would be the benign interpretation, that testing has
encouraged parents to get their kids in to see specialists for
much-needed medical care. But there’s also a more sinister
possibility and one that Hinshaw and Scheffler say is at work in
some states.

“If you can identify the children with ADHD, you can take them out of the pool that measures how schools are doing,” says Scheffler.

He says some districts — he won’t say where — do seem to have been doing so. State school officials and the federal Department of Education did not respond when contacted by NBC News.

No Child Left Behind ties federal funding to test scores, Scheffler points out.“You can see the incentive for schools to get kids diagnosed with ADHD,” he says.

Either way, Scheffler and Hinshaw say the increase in ADHD cases is real, and it’s not just affecting kids. Recent studies show adult diagnoses are on the rise, too.

“Although often ridiculed, ADHD represents a genuine medical
condition that robs people of major life chances,” they write in the book.

“You can see the incentive for schools to get kids diagnosed with ADHD.”

Scheffler doesn’t see the increase in adult ADHD diagnoses as
surprising. “This has nothing to do with the schools. This has to do with global competition and performance,” he says. People are under pressure to perform better at work.

And news about adult ADHD in turn sends more people to their doctors, and diagnoses spike even more, Hinshaw adds. “Here are we are in 2014 with evidence that medications can benefit. Adult ADHD clinics spring up,” he says.

“That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” says Hinshaw.

What is bad is if ADHD is not being diagnosed with the proper care, Hinshaw says. A 10-minute pediatrician visit is not adequate for an ADHD diagnosis and certainly not as the basis for writing a prescription for a powerful stimulant, such as Ritalin or Adderall, to treat it.

“Many pediatricians are not trained in the emotional disorders of childhood, or not reimbursed for the time it takes,” Hinshaw said.

“It is easy to pull out prescription pad at the end of a visit.”

He calls the book a “reality check” and says parents, providers, educators and politicians should take note, and make sure the right kids are being diagnosed, and helped, properly.