, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 92-95
Date: 28 Oct 2005

Effect of stimulants on 24-h ambulatory blood pressure in children with ADHD: a double-blind, randomized, cross-over trial

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Millions of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are treated with stimulant medications. To evaluate cardiovascular risk, 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) was performed on and off medication. Thirteen subjects underwent APBM both on stimulant therapy and placebo using a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized, cross-over design. After a 3-day run-in followed by a 24-h monitoring period, subjects crossed over to the alternate therapy for repeated ABPM. Subjects demonstrated elevations in most hemodynamic parameters derived from ABPM during the active treatment period. Total diastolic blood pressure (69.7 mmHg vs 65.8 mmHg, p =0.02) and waking diastolic blood pressure (75.5 mmHg vs 72.3 mmHg, p =0.03) were significantly higher during active treatment. Total heart rate was also significantly higher during active treatment (85.5 beats/min vs 79.9 beats/min, p =0.004). The rate-pressure product (the product of systolic blood pressure × heart rate), an index of myocardial oxygen demand, was higher during active treatment (9,958 vs 9,076, p =0.008). This study provides evidence for a possible negative cardiovascular effect of stimulant medications in children with ADHD. This potential cardiovascular risk should be balanced against the beneficial behavioral effects of this class of medication.