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Health Canada Warns of Suicide Risk with ADHD Drugs

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Brian Finehout-Henry2 years ago

Health Canada has warned that ADHD drugs might increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, according to the Wall Street Journal.

About Health Canada and ADHD

Health Canada is the Canadian version of the Unites States’ Food and Drug Administration and is responsible for helping Canadians to stay healthy and to improve their health.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also called ADHD, is characterized by a difficulty staying focused, controlling behavior, and being hyperactive, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The Toronto Star reports that Health Canada added the warning of suicide to the ADHD medications after receiving reports of suicidal thinking and behavior side effects from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and patients taking the ADHD drugs.

Suicide Warning Added to ADHD Prescription Information

Yahoo News reports that the risk of suicide might apply to all ADHD drugs. Global News reports the warning is for the two main classes of ADHD drugs, methylphenidate and amphetamine based ADHD drugs.

Biospace says the warning of suicidality will apply to the following ADHD drugs:

  • Adderall XR
  • Biphentin
  • Concerta
  • Dexedrine
  • Ritalin
  • Strattera
  • Vyvanse
  • Ritalin SR
  • Intuniv XR

The CBC reports that the ADHD drug, Strattera, already carries a warning for suicide. The FDA placed a black box warning, the most serious warning the FDA can issue, on the label for Strattera to warn of suicidal ideation in children and adolescents.

Fox News reports that an FDA advisory committee has previously voted in favor of adding suicide warnings to the labels of ADHD drugs.

Serious Adverse Events Associated With ADHD Drugs

The public warning from Health Canada warns that the reports of suicidality have occurred when a patient starts taking an ADHD drug, has a change in dose of an ADHD drug, and when stopping their ADHD drug.

CTV News reports that the Health Canada suicide side effect reports include instances of:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicidal actions, such as attempting suicide
  • Completed suicides

A previous investigation into ADHD drugs by the Toronto Star found that doctors, nurses, and pharmacists were reporting many other serious and major health problems associated with ADHD drugs.

The Toronto Star investigation also found that younger children, about 7 years old, were the most likely to have a severe adverse event while taking ADHD drugs. The FDA labels for many ADHD drugs carry warnings for serious side effects including:

  • Serious cardiovascular events
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Psychiatric adverse events such as manic and psychotic symptoms
  • Long term growth suppression
  • Seizures


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