A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A word of warning about Ritalin

Kids should have their heartbeats and blood pressure checked before being put on Ritalin.
Children should be screened for heart problems with an electrocardiogram before getting drugs like Ritalin to treat hyperactivity and attention-deficit disorder, the American Heart Association recommended Monday.

Stimulant drugs can increase blood pressure and heart rate. For most children, that isn't a problem. But in those with heart conditions, it could make them more vulnerable to sudden cardiac arrest — an erratic heartbeat that causes the heart to stop pumping blood through the body — and other heart problems.

About 2.5 million American children and 1.5 million adults take medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, according to government estimates. Stimulant drugs, like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta, help children with ADHD stay focused and control their behavior.

The medications already carry warnings of possible heart risks in those with heart defects or other heart problems, which some critics said were driven more by concerns of overuse of the drugs than their safety.

The heart group is now recommending a thorough exam, including a family history and an EKG, before children are put on the drugs to make sure that they don't have any undiagnosed heart issues.

You know, now that I think of it, this seems to be something you would think would be absolutely mandatory, anyway. The idea that a doctor would put a kid on a stimulant with the mere assumption that he or she is healthy is pretty frightening. I imagine that there are certainly occasions when this has happened, but what horrible consequences should there be an underlying problem!



At 5/10/08, 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The medications already carry warnings of possible heart risks in those with heart defects or other heart problems, which some critics said were driven more by concerns of overuse of the drugs than their safety

At 12/6/08, 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Nathan Finch and i would like to show you my personal experience with Ritalin.

I am 32 years old. Have been on Ritalin for 2 years now. This drug has saved my life. I have seen drastic differences between times in my life when I was taking it and when I was not. I failed out of one school and graduated top of my class in the next. Floated from job to job and then became very successful. I don't like the way I feel when I am taking it (I'm boring -- no personality) so, I time my doses to help me in the office or when I have to focus on mundane task's at home like paying bills, taxes etc. and then go without it when I'm recreating.

I have experienced some of these side effects-
Initially some apatite suppression, insomnia and slight gitters. This was corrected by reducing my afternoon dose.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Nathan Finch

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