ADHD Drugs—Ritalin Studies

There have been 16 studies in four countries (United States, Denmark, Australia and Italy) on Ritalin. These are as follows:

United States, February 1, 2012: The American Journal of Psychiatry published a study where the researchers evaluated a group of new users of Methylphenidate (Ritalin) and nonusers. They found that starting Methylphenidate was associated with a 1.8-fold increase in risk of sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia (abnormal heart rate or heart rhythm). Source: Hedi Schelleman, Ph.D.; Warren B. Bilker, Ph.D., et al.,”Methylphenidate and Risk of Serious Cardiovascular Events in Adults,” American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 169, No. 2, Feb 1, 2012.

United States, December 1, 2010: The authors of a study in PLoS One took the Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System data, and extracted all “serious adverse event” reports for drugs with 200 or more cases received from 2004 through September 2009. They identified 484 drugs, which accounted for 780,169 serious adverse event reports of all kinds, including 1,937 cases meeting their violence criteria. Of the 484 drugs identified, 31 drugs were disproportionately associated with violence. These drugs, accounting for 79% of all the violence cases, included 11 antidepressants, 6 sedative/hypnotics and 3 drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (including Ritalin). The specific cases of violence included: homicide, physical assaults, cases indicating physical abuse, homicidal ideation, and cases described as violence-relates symptoms. The authors concluded, “These data provide new evidence that acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event that is associated with a relatively small group of drugs. Source: Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen, Curt D. Furbert, “Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others,” Public Library of Science ONE, Vol. 5, Iss. 12, Dec. 2010.

Denmark, June 23, 2010: A study in BioMed Central, showed how the prescribing of psychotropic drugs (including Ritalin) in infants is rapidly increasing. In attempts to curb the use of these drugs, regulatory authorities have issued various warnings about risks associated with use of these products in childhood. This team of researchers analyzed data submitted to a national adverse drug reactions (ADR) database to categorize ADRs reported for psych drugs in the Danish pediatric population. They found that almost 20% of psychotropic ADRs were reported for children from birth up to 2 years of age and one half of ADRs were reported in adolescents. The authors concluded that, “The high number of serious ADRs reported for psychotropic medicines in the pediatric population should be a concern for health care professionals and physicians.” Source: Lise Aagaard and Ebba H Hansen, “Adverse drug reactions from psychotropic medicines in the paediatric population: analysis of reports to the Danish Medicines Agency over a decade,” BioMed Central Ltd., vol. 3, no. 176, June 23, 2010.

Australia, February 20, 2010: The Government of Western Australia, Department of Health, published a study that examined the long-term social, emotional, school-based, growth, and cardiovascular outcomes associated with the use of stimulant medication in the treatment of ADHD. The children were reviewed once they reached 14-years-old. They compared outcomes of children labeled with ADHD and treated with stimulants (including Ritalin) and those not treated with stimulants. They found that kids who received a stimulant medication were at increased odds of being identified as performing below age-level by a classroom teacher by a factor of 10.5 times. There was also blood pressure increase in those chronically using stimulant medications. On average, external behavior and attention problems did not change significantly between the ages of 5 and 14 in children with ADHD, regardless of medication use. The results indicating that there is little long-term benefit of stimulant medication in the core symptoms of ADHD. Source: “Raine ADHD Study: Long-term outcomes associated with stimulant medication in the treatment of ADHD in children.” The Government of Western Australia Department of Health, February 20, 2010.

United States,August 29, 2009: The journal Pediatrics assessed the American Association of Poison Control Center’s National Poison Data System for all cases involving people aged 13 to 19 years from 1998-2005. The authors found that calls related to teenaged victims of prescription ADHD drugs (including Ritalin) abuse rose 76%. This sharp increase, out of proportion to other calls, suggests a rising problem with teen ADHD stimulant medication abuse. Source: Jennifer Setlik, MD, et al., “Adolescent Prescription ADHD Medication Abuse Is Rising Along With Prescriptions for These Medications,” Pediatrics, August 24, 2009.

United States, June 15, 2009: The American Journal of Psychiatry published a study that provides support for an association between the use of stimulants (such as Ritalin) and sudden unexplained death among children and adolescents. Source: Madelyn S. Gould, Ph.D., M.P.H., et al., “Sudden Death and Use of Stimulant Medications in Youths,” The American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol AiA, June 15, 2009.

United States, February 1, 2009: Pediatrics published a study that found spontaneous case reports of patients treated for ADHD with amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall), atomoxetine (Straterra), or Methylphenidate (Ritalin/Concerta/Daytrana) indicated a likely causal association between each of these drugs and treatment-emergent onset of signs and symptoms of psychosis or mania, notably hallucinations, in some patients. The authors concluded, “Patients and physicians should be aware that psychosis or mania arising during drug treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may represent adverse drug reactions.” Source: Andrew D. Mosholder, MD, MPH, et al, “Hallucinations and Other Psychotic Symptoms Associated With the Use of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Drugs in Children,” Pediatrics, Vol. 123, No. 2, pp. 611-616, February 2009.

United States, December 1, 2007: The journal Pediatrics published a study done on children which found that “Stimulants [including Ritalin] were associated with an increase in cardiac emergency department visits.” Source: Almut G. Winterstein, et al., “Cardiac Safety of Central Nervous System [CNS] Stimulants in Children and Adolescents With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder,” Pediatrics, Vol. 120, pp. e1494-e1501, December 2007.

United States, July 20, 2007: A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that after three years of taking Ritalin, kids are about an inch shorter and more than four pounds lighter than those children not taking the drug. Source: Daniel J. DeNoon, “ADHD Drug Does Stunt Growth, After 3 Years on Ritalin, Kids Are Shorter, Lighter Than Peers,” WebMD, July 20, 2007.

United States, July 1, 2007: A study published in Medical Observer found that children who used Ritalin for a long period of time could be more at risk of delinquency and substance abuse. The study showed that the more days of prescribed medication, the more serious delinquency became. Source: Kate Sikora, “Crime risk with Ritalin,” The Daily Telegraph, July 26, 2007.

United States, November 1, 2006: A Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry study found that Methylphenidate (Ritalin) in children caused significant side effects and appeared to slow children’s growth rates. Side effects included insomnia, weight loss and decreased appetite. One child had a seizure thought to be drug related. About a third of parents reported moderate to severe side effects throughout the study, including emotional outbursts and irritability. Source: Tim Wigal, Ph.D., et al., “Safety and Tolerability of Methylphenidate in Preschool Children With ADHD,” Journal of the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 45:11, November 2006.

United States, September 1, 2005: The Oregon Health & Science University, Evidence-Based Practice Center published a report that reviewed 2,287 studies, virtually every study conducted on “ADHD” drugs (including Ritalin), and found that there were no trials showing the effectiveness of these drugs and that there was a lack of evidence that they could change “academic performance, risky behaviors, social achievements, etc.” Source: “Drug Class Review on Pharmacologic Treatments for ADHD,” Final Report, Oregon Health & Science University, Evidence-Based Practice Center, Sept. 2005; M. Alexander Otto, “Are ADHD drugs safe?…” The News Tribune, September 26, 2005.

United States, July 1, 2005: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University issued a report showing that 15 million Americans were getting high on prescription drugs, painkillers and psychiatric drugs such as the tranquilizer, Xanax and the stimulants Ritalin and Adderall. Also, they were abusing these drugs more than cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines combined. Between 1992 and 2003, the number of 12-17 year olds abusing these drugs rose 212%. Teens who abused prescription drugs were 12 times more likely to use heroin, 14 times more likely to use Ecstasy and 21 times more likely to use cocaine, compared to teens that do not abuse such drugs. Source: “Under the Counter: The Diversion and Abuse of Controlled Prescription Drugs in the U.S.,” The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, June 2005.

United States, April 21, 2005: Partnership for a Drug-Free America released its “Partnership Attitude Tracking Study” of teens in 2004 that found 10% (2.3 million) of teens had abused Ritalin and Adderall stating that ‘Generation Rx’ has arrived.” Source: “Partnership Attitude Tracking Study” of teens in 2004, 17th Annual report by Partnership for a Drug-Free America, 21 Apr. 2005; Survey: 1 in 5 teens getting high on medications, over-counter drugs,, May 2, 2005.

United States, August 2001: The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that Ritalin was chemically similar to cocaine. Injected as a liquid, it sent a jolt that “addicts like very much.” The study also admitted that although psychiatrists had used this drug to treat ADHD for 40 years, they and pharmacologists had never known how or why it worked. Source: Brian Vastig, “Pay Attention: Ritalin Acts Much Like Cocaine,” Journal of the American Medical Association, August 22/29, 2001, Vol. 286, No. 8, p. 905.

Italy, November 3, 2000: Professor Ubaldo Bonuccelli from the Clinical Neurological Department and Neuroscience, University di Pisa in Italy, issued a “clinical expert report” on Ritalin in which he noted that previously unidentified adverse drug effects had been reported in the stimulant:Suicide: It is known that Ritalin therapy and its sudden discontinuation [withdrawal] may cause depression in some patients. The use of Ritalin in the treatment of depressed patients is contraindicated. A search of the Novartis international safety data base allowed the identification of 21 cases of attempted suicide and six suicides, in addition to 25 reports of suicidal ideations in patients aged 6-48 years, 56% of whom were children less than 16 years.” Source: Professor Ubaldo Bonuccelli, Clinical Neurological Department and Neuroscience, University di Pisa in Italy, “Clinical expert report on Ritalin,” November 3, 2000.

This brochure is a simple guide that documents the dangerous and deadly side effects of the drugs prescribed to millions of men, women and children diagnosed with bogus mental disorders.


Please note: No one should attempt to get off of psychiatric drugs without doctor’s supervision. To help find medical practitioners in your area, click here