Increased Warning About The Risk Of Suicidal Thoughts And Behaviors Being Added To Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Drug Labels
On March 30, 2015 Health Canada issued an Information Update document with new safety information about Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, and similar medications titled "ADHD drugs may increase risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in some people; benefits still outweigh risks".
From that item we get this description about the emerging ADHD drugs safety issue:
The new warnings advise that there have been reports of suicide-related events in patients treated with ADHD drugs. The reports involved thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, and in a very small number of cases, completed suicide. These events have been reported at various times during treatment, particularly at the start or during dose changes, and also after stopping the drug treatment....
New information has emerged since to suggest that the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours may apply to all other ADHD drugs. There is little evidence to establish that these drugs cause suicidal thoughts and behaviours, but it is possible that they may contribute to the risk.... [emphasis added]
The following is a list of some brand name ADHD drugs to which this warning about suicide-related events in patients applies:
- Adderall XR (mixed salts amphetamine extended-release)
- Biphentin (methylphenidate controlled release)
- Concerta (methylphenidate extended release)
- Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine sulfate)
- Intuniv XR (guanfacine extended release)
- Ritalin (methylphenidate)
- Ritalin SR (methylphenidate extended release)
- Strattera (atomoxetine) [the warning was added to this drug label back in 2005]
- Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate)
The March 2015 update about important safety information concludes with this critical comment: "It is Health Canada's view that the benefits of these drugs in the effective management of ADHD continue to outweigh their risks."
We will continue to monitor the benefit - risk profile of ADHD drugs like Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, and Strattera, as well as watch for any corresponding regulatory action by the FDA here in the US.