Long-term Safety of ADHD Drugs Has Never Been Studied


Even though about 10% of American children have been diagnosed with ADHD and most are taking stimulant medications for it, Boston Children’s Hospital researchers report in PLOS One that there have been no studies into the long-term safety of these drugs. “This is a wake up call for what’s lacking in the drug approval process and what we want to see in the future,” study co-author Dr. Kenneth Mandl told the Boston Globe. “Our findings are particularly troubling since these drugs are so widely used and used for years, not weeks.”

The Boston Children’s Hospital researchers identified 32 clinical trials on the 20 ADHD drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. These trials involved on average just 75 patients, only five focused on drug safety, and the average length of each trial was just four weeks.

ADHD drugs lacking in safety studies, Boston researchers find
(Boston Globe, July 9, 2014)

Premarket Safety and Efficacy Studies for ADHD Medications in Children (Bourgeois, Florence T. et al. PLOS One. July 09, 2014 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102249)


  1. Want to do a study on long term results of ADHD drugs ?

    Start by looking at the psychiatric histories of young people 18-25 checking into drug and alcohol treatment centers. It starts with one of the best highs out there, stimulants for ADHD.

    Meanwhile, ADHD Drug To Be Tested On Four-Year-Olds | The Fix

    Testing Vyvance on 4 year olds, that horrible inferior crap with the flawed ‘long acting’ delivery system they call ‘new and improved’ just for a new patent to make big bucks. The ‘long acting’ part is only the insomnia, no appetite, anxiety and psychosis and they already know that. Those pharma scum have no soul and they likely know that too.

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    • So, the “professionals” have put 10% of the children in our country on kiddie cocaine, and 20 years later, they are now telling us that they have never bothered to do any research on the long run effects of the ADHD drugs? And this is shocking news to the “professionals” at Boston Children’s Hospital?

      I’m looking forward to hearing the results of their research, but can guess what honest results would find. Since the ADHD drugs are chemically almost identical to cocaine, which we all know doesn’t produce good long run outcomes. I’m guessing forcing millions of little children onto kiddie cocaine was a deplorable and disgusting idea. I think we need different “professionals.”

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      • “kiddie cocaine”
        Actually the ADHD drugs are amphetamines, not cocaine – I’m not sure where this comparison came from but I’ve seen it used all over the place including by people who actually take ADHD drugs. Both cocaine and amphetamine have effects on dopamine signalling (among others) but they are chemically different.
        Not that it makes it any better of course…

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  2. This doctor says they’re chemically similar:


    Although, I’m not a doctor, so my specialty is not distinguishing how different stimulants work, and why some are legal and others illegal. But I was also researching how Ritalin and cocaine differ in brain scans, and they do appear to effect the brain in a similar manner (although there is controversy over the validity of the brain imaging techniques).

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    • Well, all they say is that they both affect dopamine signalling which is true. However, they’re chemically different and they do it by different mechanisms, have different pharmacokinetics etc., etc.
      ADHD drugs are amphetamines (pure amphetamine, methamphetamine or their analogues) so it’s a more accurate comparison than cocaine, which is quite different even if it affects some similar pathways.
      Anyway, that’s a minor problem, neither is really good for you in most cases…

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      • “Neither is really good for you in most cases….” Of that, I definitely agree, and I think the doctors really shouldn’t be surprised or shocked by stimulants harming people long run or these lapses in research, at this point. After all, the doctors claim to be the experts. We’re just the lay people pointing out what the experts should theoretically already know, given common sense and what existing medical research and patient comments state.

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  3. For the past 38 years parent volunteers have been successfully helping families of children with what is currently being called “ADHD.” We first learned how to help our own families and then joined with other parents to help new families…adults as well as children. Our program shows people how determine of certain synthetic food additives are triggering the unwanted symptoms. See http://www.feingold.org

    Many professionals do not seem to understand that the stomach and the brain are both part of the same body, and when a normal human ingests a steady diet of petroleum-based food additives, the brain is bound to be affected.

    Unlike many newer approaches to a diet for behavior and learning problems, the Feingold diet is fairly simple, not expensive and has a very high rate of success provided that the person has accurate information. Information on what is actually in foods is becoming harder and harder to find, as the industries and the FDA ignore both the letter and spirit of the laws, and that is why the Feingold Associaiton conducts in-depth research on brand name foods to identify the ones that are really free of the harmful additives.

    It wasn’t so long ago that children ate real food — not neon-colored fake factory foods. And that was when hyperactivity was a footnote in medical textbooks and the thought of drugging little children was too bizarre to even consider.

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  4. I am hyperactive to an extreme level and dexedrine is all that helps with that now. I am all natural when it comes to food, no dyes or artificial crap, supplementation and finding out the ins and outs of which are and aren’t tested and not bad and help where meds damage and yoga/mindfulness/exercise but going off of it makes me immature and I party and tend to use drugs too. I have a Masters and work but I never had an issue with attention, I was AP level and got all of my work done faster. I was always bored, wound up, and impatient. I do and say things before I think without it, I may be enough to be “qualified” but at age 34 being mostly on since age 5, I will say they are addictive, hyper or not.

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