Published Online: May 31, 2006

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Hospitals Treat Thousands Annually for Bad Reactions to ADHD Medications, Researchers Say

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Information on obtaining the article, Stimulant Medications and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is available from the New England Journal of Medicine.

Adverse reactions and overdoses of stimulant medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder accounted for an estimated 3,075 emergency room visits in 2004, according to research from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Stimulant medications used to treat ADHD are known by brand names such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexedrine. Researchers based the estimate on a public-health-surveillance system that monitors clinical records from 64 hospitals around the country. The findings were published in the May 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the sampling of 64 hospitals, people suffering adverse reactions or overdoses of stimulant medications visited the emergency room 188 times from Aug. 1, 2003, to Dec. 31, 2005. Most of the trips, 61 percent, were due to unintentional ingestions or overdoses. More than eight in 10 of the patients were children under 18, and 58 percent were male patients of all ages.

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