Medication commonly used to treat ADHD could increase the risk of heart defects in infants, according to a new study.

The research, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that those exposed to methylphenidate drugs like Ritalin and Concerta during their first trimester were 28 percent more likely to give birth to a child with a congenital heart defect.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital collected data from more than four million American and Nordic women, reports Daily Mail.

This means that for every 1,000 women treated with methylphenidate during the first 90 days of pregnancy, there were three infants born with a heart defect.

‘Although the absolute risk is small, it is nevertheless important evidence to consider when treating young women of reproductive age and pregnant women,’ researcher Dr Krista Huybrechts of Brigham and Women’s Hospital said.

The study also found that amphetamine did not increase the risk of heart defects.

ADHD is a chronic condition characterized by inattentiveness and impulsiveness.

Researchers suggest women with mild to moderate ADHD symptoms may be able to forego treatment during pregnancy.

However, if expecting mothers suffer from severe ADHD symptoms researchers say it may be important for them to continue using their medication throughout pregnancy.

As always it is best to discuss with your doctor before making a decision.

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  • Some who suffer with severe ADHD have a really low IQ and other medical issues. Some know they would not cope with Motherhood. I personally know one. I never mentioned it but she confided in me that she didn’t think she could cope with a baby if she had one, that she wished people would stop pressuring them.


  • 3 out of 1000. I’d be interested to know how many babies have heart defects in mothers who aren’t on ADHD medication.


  • Important info for those who suffer ADHD. No medication is without side effects, good to be cautious and discuss things with your practitioner.


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  • I can imagine indeed that if you suffer severe ADHD, not taking your medicines isn’t an option. :-(


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