Methylphenidate and risk of serious cardiovascular events in adults.

TitleMethylphenidate and risk of serious cardiovascular events in adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsSchelleman H, Bilker WB, Kimmel SE, Daniel GW, Newcomb C, Guevara JP, Cziraky MJ, Strom BL, Hennessy S
JournalAm J Psychiatry
Date Published2012 Feb
KeywordsAdult, Aged, Central Nervous System Stimulants, Cohort Studies, Databases, Factual, Death, Sudden, Cardiac, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Female, Humans, Incidence, Male, Mental Disorders, Methylphenidate, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction, Proportional Hazards Models, Research Design, Risk Assessment, Stroke, United States, Ventricular Fibrillation

OBJECTIVE: The authors sought to determine whether use of methylphenidate in adults is associated with elevated rates of serious cardiovascular events compared with rates in nonusers.

METHOD: This was a cohort study of new users of methylphenidate based on administrative data from a five-state Medicaid database and a 14-state commercial insurance database. All new methylphenidate users with at least 180 days of prior enrollment were identified. Users were matched on data source, state, sex, and age to as many as four comparison subjects who did not use methylphenidate, amphetamines, or atomoxetine. A total of 43,999 new methylphenidate users were identified and matched to 175,955 nonusers. Events of primary interest were 1) sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia, 2) stroke, 3) myocardial infarction, and 4) a composite endpoint of stroke or myocardial infarction.

RESULTS: The age-standardized incidence rate per 1,000 person-years of sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia was 2.17 (95% CI=1.63-2.83) in methylphenidate users and 0.98 (95% CI=0.89-1.08) in nonusers, for an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.84 (95% CI=1.33-2.55). Dosage was inversely associated with risk. Adjusted hazard ratios for stroke, myocardial infarction, and the composite endpoint of stroke or myocardial infarction did not differ statistically from 1.

CONCLUSIONS: Although initiation of methylphenidate was associated with a 1.8-fold increase in risk of sudden death or ventricular arrhythmia, the lack of a dose-response relationship suggests that this association may not be a causal one.

Alternate JournalAm J Psychiatry
PubMed ID22318795
Grant List5KL2RR024132 / RR / NCRR NIH HHS / United States