Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

ADD & ADHD Health Center

Font Size

New Heart Alert for Some ADHD Drugs

Strongest Warning Focuses on Amphetamine-Based Drugs
WebMD Health News

Aug. 22, 2006 -- Amphetamine-based drugs for ADHD, such as Adderall and Dexedrine, now come with a new, expanded 'black box' warning for an increased risk of sudden death in patients with heart problems.

A black box warning is the most serious warning added to a drug's label information.

Earlier this year, two FDA advisory panels recommended new warnings and information for all stimulant drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But the panels didn't quite agree on the warnings.

In February, one panel recommended a black box warning. But, in March, a separate panel stopped short of recommending the black box warnings.

Since Adderall and Dexedrine are amphetamines, they already had a black box warning about amphetamine abuse.

That black box warning for the two drugs now includes the following sentence: "Misuse of amphetamines may cause sudden death and serious cardiovascular events." Notice of the warning for Dexedrine appeared on the FDA's site yesterday.

Ritalin and Concerta, two other drugs used to treat ADHD, aren't amphetamines. So they don't bear the black box warning about amphetamine use.

However, they are stimulants and do carry warnings about the risk of sudden death in people with heart problems. The FDA has not decided these drugs need to carry a black box warning.

Ritalin is made by Novartis. Concerta is made by McNeil Pediatrics. Adderall is made by Shire. Dexedrine is made by GlaxoSmithKline. All are WebMD sponsors.

ADHD Drug Warnings

Warning information for all stimulant ADHD drugs includes the following:

  • Sudden death has been associated with stimulants at usual doses in children and teens with structural heart abnormalities or other serious heart problems.

  • Children, teens, or adults who are being considered for treatment with stimulant medicines should have a careful checkup (including family history and a physical exam) to check for heart disease.

  • Patients who develop symptoms such as chest pain during exertion, unexplained fainting, or other possible heart symptoms should promptly get a heart evaluation.

  • Sudden death, stroke, and heart attack have been reported in adults taking stimulant drugs at usual doses for ADHD.

  • Adults are more likely than kids to have serious structural heart abnormalities, cardiomyopathy(a disease of the heart muscle), serious heart rhythm abnormalities, coronary artery disease, or other serious heart problems.

  • Adults with such heart abnormalities should also generally not be treated with stimulant drugs.

Today on WebMD

Post it notes
Symptoms and treatments.
Close up of eye
What's zapping your focus?
man driving car
How to manage your impulses.
contemplating woman
Learn to stop procrastinating.
concentration killers
Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
ADHD and Substance Abuse
Reduce Side Effects ADHD Medications

boy eating egg
smiling man
ADHD in Marriage and Romantic Relationships
Adult man lying awake in bed