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How are ADHD medication side effects regulated?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Doctors and their patients help the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate side effects of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications. When a person experiences a side effect and reports it to the doctor, the doctor should document it. Then, the doctor should report common medication side effects to the FDA, which uses this information to evaluate the safety of the drug.

When serious side effects occur frequently, the FDA must decide on the appropriate action. Sometimes, the FDA will withdraw the medication from public use. At other times, warning labels are put on the medication packaging to educate the public about the possible side effects. One example of this is when the FDA noticed a link between ADHD stimulant medications and heart problems in young people. Now, stimulant medications for ADHD include a black box warning label that cautions people about a potential risk for heart problems when the medication is taken.

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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.