Health Canada Adds Suicide Warning to ADHD Medications

Rob Wipond
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“Stronger, clearer warnings on the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours are being incorporated into the prescribing information for drugs used in the management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” stated a press release this week from Health Canada.

The new warning came about after an investigation of reports of suicidality. “While most Canadian reports were about suicidal thoughts, a small number of suicide attempts and suicides were also reported,” stated the new Health Canada warning. “In general, the review of Canadian cases suggests that the use of amphetamine products may contribute to suicidal thoughts or actions in some patients with ADHD, either alone or in association with other mental conditions. At present, there is little information in the scientific literature to determine the role of amphetamine products in causing suicidality.”

The ADHD drugs that will carry the new suicide warning are Adderall XR, Concerta, Biphentin, Strattera, Intuniv XR, Dexedrine, Ritalin, Ritalin SR, and Vyvanse.

The Toronto Star reported that, “This is the same type of data reviewed by the Star as part of its 2012 investigation that found nearly 600 cases of Canadian kids suffering serious, sometimes fatal side-effects suspected to have been caused by ADHD medications between 2002 and 2012.”

Health Canada issues “stronger, clearer” warnings about suicide risks linked to ADHD drugs (Toronto Star, March 30, 2015)

Information Update – ADHD drugs may increase risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours in some people; benefits still outweigh risks (Health Canada press release on PRNewswire, March 30, 2015)

Summary Safety Review – Amphetamines – Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours (Suicidality) (Health Canada, March 30, 2015)

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