Pediatricians Nix Heart Tests Before ADHD Drugs

CHICAGO (AP) -- The nation's largest pediatricians' group says most children getting attention-deficit drugs don't need heart screening with electrocardiogram tests.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says advice earlier this year from the American Heart Association recommending EKGs was overzealous because these rare deaths are more common in the general population than among children on stimulants.

ADHD drugs like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta can help children focus more, behave less impulsively and perform better in school. But they also can increase blood pressure and heart rate and carry warnings about risks for sudden deaths in patients with heart problems.

More than half of the 4 million children diagnosed with attention-deficit disorders in the U.S. are being treated with stimulant drugs.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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