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FDA Urges Caution in Weighing Risks of ADHD Drugs

WASHINGTON — The FDA is urging parents to keep their children on attention deficit drugs like Ritalin and Adderall, despite new evidence that the stimulants can increase the risk of sudden death.

A government-backed study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests a link between use of the stimulant drugs and sudden death in children and adolescents. The drugs already carry warnings about risks of heart attack and stroke in children with underlying heart conditions.

FDA experts say the small number of children evaluated in the new study limits its significance. The agency urges parents to discuss safety concerns with their doctor, but to keep children on the treatment.