Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pediatricians Avoid Discussing ADHD Medication Risks

A recent survey of 525 pediatricians finds that while most (93 percent) completed a routine history and physical before starting children on stimulant medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), only 48 percent performed an in-depth cardiac history and physical, and just 15 percent ordered an electrocardiogram. Only 48 percent of the sample talked to patients and their families about cardiac risks associated with stimulant use, noted Laurel Leslie, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine, and colleagues in the February Pediatrics, and published online January 16.

About 81 percent of the pediatricians responding to the survey felt that a family’s knowledge of the risk of sudden cardiac death would deter stimulant use, the authors noted. “The fact that physicians might not discuss potential risks with families, despite lay media publicity, suggests that, as a field, we are not adequately prepared to discuss these risks in an efficient, negotiated manner,” they said.

For more on the cardiac risks of ADHD medications, see Psychiatric News.

(Image: MaszaS/


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