ADHD Stimulant Use May Increase Risk of Heart Defects in Infants
Although attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often appears in childhood, the behavior disorder affects men and women of all ages. In order to combat the symptoms of ADHD, which include limited attention and hyperactivity, along with potential difficulties in concentration, memory, organization, and motivation, patients are often prescribed stimulants, including methylphenidate and amphetamine. While these drugs help to combat issues and allow patients with ADHD to function normally, a recent study conducted for JAMA Psychiatry, a medical journal published by the American Medical Association, has revealed that the use of methylphenidates in pregnant women may result in heart defects in infants.
Research and Results
In general, the rate at which cardiac malformations occur in infants is quite low, occurring in 10 out of 1,000 infants in the United States. By cross-referencing data taken by Medicaid, researchers found that the risk for heart defects in infants increases by 28 percent when pregnant women take ADHD medications containing methylphenidate during the first-trimester of pregnancy.
Although the formation of cardiac defects is very rare, exposure to the stimulant raised the number of infants affected. The study found that on average, 13 out of 1,000 infants were diagnosed with malformations when pregnant women took drugs containing methylphenidate as an active ingredient during the pregnancy.
When compared to women who used drugs containing amphetamine, methylphenidate is much more dangerous, as there was no increased risk for heart defects associated with the use of amphetamines, even when taken throughout the entire pregnancy.
While the chance of cardiac malformation in infants is very low, even in women who take medication containing methylphenidate, proper precautions should be taken. Like other drugs, the benefits should outweigh the risks. If doctors fail to screen patients for potential problems or warn mothers of possible risks, they may be accused of medical malpractice should serious complications arise.
Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant are advised to seek other treatment options if they suffer from ADHD, as drugs containing amphetamines, including Adderall, Dexedrine, Dyanavel, Evekeo, ProCentra, and Vyvanse, have so far been proven to be safe and effective to take while pregnant.
Improper medical guidance resulting in medication errors is a common form of medical malpractice. If you or someone you know is the parent or guardian of an infant that suffered from heart defects as the result of exposure to ADHD medications containing methylphenidate, including but not limited to, Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana, or Methylin, you may be entitled to compensation for treatment, complications, and emotional suffering.
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As medical malpractice cases are difficult to prove, it is important that you have the support of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Contact us online or call 856-354-9444 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Cherry Hill medical malpractice lawyer at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. With offices in Philadelphia, King of Prussia, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we assist clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.