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Do ADHD medications cause young people to commit suicide?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Medications that treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been shown to slightly increase the risk of psychiatric symptoms, including thoughts of suicide. To reduce this risk, doctors can carefully screen each person with ADHD for any tendencies for, or family history of, mental illness. Even with careful screening, some young people, including children and teenagers, experience thoughts of harming themselves when taking ADHD medicines.

The primary medication associated with suicidal thinking is the non-stimulant medication atomoxetine. In clinical research studies, this drug was associated with an increase in suicidal thoughts in young people who took this drug. Parents should be extra cautious to monitor their children taking this medicine. Any abnormal, unusual, or suspicious behavior should be reported to a physician immediately. Doctors should also take care to monitor young patients taking atomoxetine, especially when it is first prescribed.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.