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No Link Found Between ADHD Drugs and Suicide

Update Date: Jun 19, 2014 02:10 AM EDT

Drugs used to ADHD like Adderall and Ritalin do no increase the risk of suicide, according to a new study.

"Our work in several ways shows that most likely there is no link between treatment with ADHD drugs and an increased risk of suicide attempts or suicide. The results rather indicate that ADHD drugs may have a protective effect," lead researcher Henrik Larsson, from the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet, said in a news release.

Previous research suggested that ADHD drug treatment could increase suicidal thoughts. However, these studies were small or used limited methods.

For the study, investigators used national patient registers to identify all patients in Sweden diagnosed with ADHD between 1960 and 1996. Researchers said that 37,936 individuals were diagnosed with ADHD. Researchers followed these people from 2006 to 2009 and monitored their drug treatment and events that could be linked to suicide attempts and suicide.

The study revealed no difference between suicidal behaviors in ADHD patients receiving medication and those who did not.

"Many epidemiological studies on the risks related to drugs fail to adjust for the differences between individuals who take the drugs and those who do not. This is a critical limitation given that the individuals on medication are usually more severely ill than the others," Larsson concluded.

The findings were published in the British Medical Journal.

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