ADHD Medications Do Not Cause Genetic Damage in Children
A study provides new evidence that therapeutic doses of stimulant medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), do not cause chromosomal damage in humans.
Balintfy: With funding through the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act by two NIH institutes, a study has safety indications for common drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.
Mattison: Continuing use of these drugs as prescribed is safe in terms of genetic damage.
Balintfy: Dr. Donald Mattison, is senior advisor to the director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Mattison: Which I think gives parents and practitioners substantial comfort that the drug that theyíre using for treating ADHD is extremely unlikely to produce genetic alterations in their children.
Balintfy: The drugs studied were stimulant medications, such as methylphenidate and amphetamine. Dr. Mattison comments, that there are still some questions about how these drugs treat ADHD.
Mattison: But it seems to work by stimulating the executive areas of the brains so the kind of things a child might do on impulse, are less likely to occur.
Balintfy: This current study was designed to determine if findings from a previously published paper that reported drug-induced chromosomal changes in children with ADHD, could be reproduced. The current study was not able to replicate those earlier findings. Dr. Mattison says these results add to a growing body of evidence that therapeutic levels of these medications do not damage chromosomes. For parents he still offers this reminder:
Mattison: Itís always important to watch for something thatís unusual or unexpected while your children are being treated with a drug, any drug, and to keep in close contact with the pediatrician or health care provider thatís involved in prescribing medications for your children.
Balintfy: Funding for the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act comes from 17 different institutes and centers at the NIH. For more on the results of this study and ADHD, visit www.nichd.nih.gov. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.