Child Deaths Linked to 'Attention-Deficit' Drugs
Vicky Dunkle's daughter, Shaina, died of cardiac arrest
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel on February 9 recommended that the agency order that its strictest "black box" warning label be placed on Ritalin and related psychiatric drugs prescribed for "Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder"(ADHD), alerting consumers to sudden death and heart risks.
The panel urged the measure after learning of the deaths of 19 children and six adults from 1999 to 2003 due to heart attacks, strokes and related cardiovascular problems after being given Ritalin, Concerta, Methylin, Metadate or other drugs that contain the amphetamine-like stimulant methylphenidate. It heard of another 54 cases of major cardiovascular problems related to these drugs, including heart attacks that were non-fatal.
One panel member, Steven Nissen, M.D., vice chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, said, "This is out-of-control use of drugs that have profound cardiovascular consequences. We have got a potential public health crisis."
Vicky Dunkle, whose daughter, Shaina, had a heart attack and died in her arms while on a psychiatric drug for ADHD, told the panel, "My husband and I believed and trusted in the professionals and they only helped me bury our child at 10 years old."
Fred Baughman, M.D., a pediatric neurologist, told Freedom that documents he received under the Freedom of Information Act revealed 160 medically related deaths from methylphenidate between 1990 and 1997, with most of the victims children.
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