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Risk of Psychotic Side Effects Higher in Some Kids Taking ADHD Medications

ADHD Medications


According the latest reports from Healthline, around 6.1 percent of American children are currently taking some form of medication to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD for short. Over the last eight years, ADHD diagnoses have increased by 42 percent. The drugs used to treat ADHD are not new and there is extensive research looking at the potential side effects. However, researchers have discovered that the psychotic side effects that can occur with these drugs might have a higher incidence than previously thought. This news is sure to result in more people making a call to medical malpractice lawyers.

adderall-300x400A study in Nova Scotia looked at the link between ADHD medications and psychotic side effects in children. The Pediatrics published study looked at 141 people aged six to 21 years old. They gave them all health screenings and every study participant had at least once parent with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder or schizophrenia.

Of the 141 patients in the study, including those who were taking a stimulant ADHD drug, two-thirds of then experienced psychotic side effects. These effects included things like delusions, perceptual disturbances, hallucinations and hearing voices. If these effects occur, patients might have a case with a medical malpractice lawyer. Of the study participants not taking a stimulant-based medications, only one quarter of them experience psychotic side effects.

It is possible that the family history of mental illness plays a major role in determining which patients experience psychotic side effects. Researchers were only able to establish an association between the medications and these effects. They were unable to find a cause and effect relationship.

poster_man_2015The effects are more common than the researchers thought and the results are pretty surprising. While these side effects were something experts knew were possible, they did not know that the incidence was so high. It is important to remember, however, that while these medications do have the potential for serious psychiatric side effects and the incidence is higher than previously thought, they are not the norm. A number of children and adult patients take these drugs long-term without ever experiencing psychotic side effects, or any side effects at all. Talking to patients about their experience on a more regular basis could help to reduce the incidence of these effects.

“These meds can be extremely helpful, including in kids with a family history of mental illness. So this in no way means that we should stop using stimulants,” says Dr. Rudolph Uher, the study’s lead author. “What is means is that docs need to ask kids about unusual experiences. They do not tell you unless you ask. As then, make decisions on risk-benefit balance.”

Those who experience serious psychotic side effects, especially those with lasting effects, should keep note of their symptoms and any known triggers. While these drugs are beneficial for most patients, there is always the risk of adverse effects. A New York medical malpractice lawyer can help patients to determine if they have a case should they experience these effects. If you have questions about the side effects your child experienced from ADHD and you believe you were a victim of doctor negligence, contact a New York medical malpractice lawyer for more information.

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