Status Report: Getting Hyper About Ritalin

An FDA advisory panel last week recommended adding the agency's strongest possible safety warning for Ritalin and other popular attention-deficit drugs. Here's what's behind the buzz:

Is the proposal based on new data? No. The panel had been tasked with suggesting studies to explore the cardiovascular effects of these drugs. The idea of adding a "black box" warning came as a surprise.

Do these drugs pose a risk to the heart? Maybe. Ritalin and its cousins Concerta and Adderall are stimulants that can raise heart rate and blood pressure. The FDA knows of 25 cases of people--19 of them children--dying suddenly...

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