Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the most commonly studied childhood disorder of our times. With so many approaches to treating ADHD, parents of ADHD children are often left confused and frustrated in which treatment approach to consider. For many parents, the use of ADHD prescription medications has become the most common choice in ADHD treatment in children. Before considering prescription use in ADHD child, consideration should be made as to the health status of the child including any pre-existing cardiovascular complications.
Recently, the FDA issued a notice to all consumers regarding the potential health risks, and associated warnings, to accompany prescription medications used to treat ADHD. This consumer warning is in response to the increased incidence of cardiac complications, including cardiovascular related death, in children utilizing ADHD prescription medications. What is commonly misunderstood, however, is the use of ADHD prescription medications does not, as a general rule, lead to cardiac complications unless there is an underlying cardiovascular complication pre-existent to the use of ADHD prescription medications.
As a parent, when considering the use of ADHD prescription medications for an ADHD child, consultation with a psychiatrist is required. However, in addition to psychiatric consultation, before using ADHD prescription medications, parents should seek out a health care screening, of the child, by a pediatric neurologist or pediatric cardiologist. In doing so, these pediatric specialists can rule out any underlying cardiovascular, or central nervous system, disorders which may complicate the treatment of ADHD with the use of prescription medications.
In addition to physical examination of the ADHD child, by a pediatric cardiologist and pediatric neurologist, parents should consult with these same healthcare professionals regarding any family history of cardiovascular disease as children, even without pre-existing cardiovascular complications, have shown to experience a greater incidence of cardiovascular complications with ADHD medications even when familial history is positive for cardiac events.
When approved for use of ADHD prescription medications, your ADHD child will require regular and consistent follow up examination by the psychiatrist including monitor of blood pressure. With visits recommended at intervals ranging from monthly to quarterly, the psychiatrist can work with pediatric cardiologists to address any potential health complications which may be attributed to the use of ADHD prescription medications.
Should an ADHD child suffer from pre-existing cardiovascular complications, the use of ADHD prescription medications may not be indicated. When this health situation occurs, parents of ADHD children are often left to seek out alternative medicine approaches in treating a child’s ADHD. Because many ADHD children suffer from poor personal relationships and self esteem, the first method of alternative treatment may include child psychotherapy specifically designed in behavioral therapy approaches. It is in behavioral therapy that a child learns to control impulsivity and hyperactivity often associated with ADHD symptoms. Beyond ADHD psychotherapy, parents may also turn to approaches involving the use of alternative medicine, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fish oils in an effort to provide some relief to the ADHD symptoms.
For more information regarding the FDA required warning for ADHD prescription medications, visit www.fda.gov.