ADHD Drugs: Hallucinations Not Uncommon
FDA Examines Incidence of Psychotic Symptoms in Children Taking ADHD Medications
WebMD News Archive
ADHD researcher William Pelham Jr., PhD, tells WebMD that hallucinations and
similar psychiatric symptoms are well known to clinicians who specialize in
treating children with the disorder.
Pelham is a professor of psychology, pediatrics, and psychiatry at the State
University of New York at Buffalo.
"Off the top of my head, I would say I have seen this in about one out
of every 100 kids I've treated," he says.
But he adds that pediatricians and other clinicians who don't specialize in
ADHD may fail to associate psychotic episodes with stimulant drug use.
He notes that the drugs have also been linked to sudden death in children
with heart problems. It is now recommended that children be evaluated for heart
problems before beginning treatment with ADHD medications.
"The hope is that reports like this one will raise awareness that these
are not benign medications. They are psychoactive drugs with side effects,"
Warnings Included on Labels
A spokesman for Shire Pharmaceuticals, which markets extended-release
Adderall XR, tells WebMD that there is little new information in the published
FDA report and that the drug’s labeling now includes a warning about possible
psychiatric side effects, including hallucination.
“Stimulant medications are proven, safe treatments for people with ADHD,”
says Shire Director of Corporate Communications Matt Cabrey. “But with any
medication there is a risk for adverse events, and these drugs are no
Eli Lilly and Co. spokesman David Shaffer also noted that the labeling for
Strattera was altered to warn of possible psychiatric side effects after the
FDA first made its concerns public.