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[QUOTE=malibubarbie999]I wouldn't go so far as to say that stimulant medication "causes" heart attacks. Though it may definitely be a contributing factor in people with underlying medical conditions they may be unaware of. A credible physician would not prescribe stimulant medication to a patient without first checking for possible underlying medical conditions that may predispose the patient to myocardial infarction.

In healthy individuals with no underlying risk of heart disease/cardiac disorder, heart attack is actually very uncommon with the regularly prescribed LOW doses of amphetamine. At 75mg/day Muztang's doctor was setting her up for trouble -- as 75mgs is WAY MORE than the dosage deemed safe by the FDA. Also, we should take into account that Muztang was taking Dexedrine which is made up of dextroamphetamine -- more potent than drugs like Adderall which are made up of a mixed amphetamine salt (dextro- and levo- amphetamine).

Also, women are more likely than men to suffer congential valve defects that almost always go unnoticed and very rarely lead to a serious problem UNLESS unnecessary stress is put on the heart (like with high doses of stimulant medication).

I am just trying to put things in perspective. Just because someone takes stimulant medication does NOT predispose them to heart problems down the road. If they are taking a low dose and are an all-around healthy individual, their chances of suffering any serious cardiac consequences are slim. Also, it is suggested that patients taking stimulant medication undergo an EKG for every year of treatment to detect any abnormalities in cardiac function. Obviously, Muztang's doctor didn't order this test, because if s/he had, Muztang would have likely been taken off the meds immediately and could have avoided the heart attack.

Just the fact the Muztang was "speeding so hard" and was basically feeling high from the drug should have raised a red flag. Stimulant medication is meant to treat ADD/HD... not make the patient high. If the med is causing euphoria and the like, the patient is on a completely unreasonable dosage. At normally prescribed low doses, amphetamine will NOT cause euphoria of any sort, it will simply treat the disease at hand. Consistently bombarding the brain and circulatory system with these extreme doses of amphetamine would surely lead to something devastating, the same way "street speed" would. But at normal doses and in a healthy individual, there is no reason to be worried!!!!![/QUOTE]

You make some valid points, however, the logic you present would also dictate whether someone who drinks alcohol got liver disease or not, only basically taking into account any pre-disposed tendency or undiagnoised liver problem.

In other words, one shouldn't worry about liver related problems with alcohol if they do not have a previous condition, according to your theory......now, this doesn't make sense, does it, we all know alcohol is hard on the liver, so anyone could get liver problems from it!

But some people don't realize drugs like amphetamines and others are even more potent than alcohol is on the liver function. And amphetamines are definately known to be very hard on the circulatory/heart/vascular systems.


You see, if a drug is known to be hard on a particular organ or system, a pre-disposed condition would not necessarily be needed to cause a problem. You could have a great, normal liver function, and then years of dealing with drugs of any kind could send the liver into problems. I think if amphetamines are hard on the heart/circulatory system, this could lead to problems whether or not one had them previously.

But of course, the point that if one already has a condition....the outlook would be worse for them using a particular drug.... is valid but not the only thing to consider.

A boy died on Ritalin years ago who had no previous heart condition and the father decided to have an autopsy done.....it revealed that the valve damage was indisputibly typical of the damage seen from amphetamine use. I think had the father not ordered the autopsy, that precise damage would have not been discovered. Look up Ritalin Death for the story.

With amphetamines, they basically speed up/stimulate the nervous system, whether mildly or not, it's still not at normal speed. It is artifically induced. They do this by way of dopamine, which is an intermediate to adrenaline.

Did you know adrenaline is produced by the adrenal gland? It occurs to me that over-stimulation by drugs artificially of this eventually would lead to a sort of shut down of natural production, maybe this is why long term amphetamine use has been linked to depression?

Anyway, I for one believe these drugs and other psychoactive drugs that effect brain function (which in turn effects body function) are definately causes of many health problems. IMHO>
Have you seen this? It's from the New York Times.
Peace,
Susan


February 12, 2005
Therapists Question Canada's Action on Hyperactivity Drug
By BENEDICT CAREY

sychiatrists said yesterday that they were as confused as they were concerned by the news that Canadian regulators had suspended the use of a commonly prescribed hyperactivity drug amid reports of deaths linked to its use.

"The news just threw a curveball into our efforts to advise doctors on how to treat attention deficit disorders in kids," said Dr. Oscar Bukstein, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

"I think everyone in the field is going to be more fastidious in how they screen children for potential heart or other problems" before prescribing drugs, said Dr. Bukstein, who is helping the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry write treatment guidelines for the attention disorder.

Canadian health officials said on Wednesday that they were suspending the sale of Adderall XR indefinitely because the drug was linked to 20 deaths, 12 of those children. Adderall XR and its short-acting cousin, Adderall, are amphetamines, which are known to cause side effects like sleeping problems, appetite loss and irritability as well as slight increases in blood pressure and heart rate. The drugs are not recommended for some people with heart conditions.

More than 700,000 Americans take some form of Adderall, which is made by Shire Pharmaceuticals Group of Britain.

Experts said yesterday that they still did not have enough information about the 20 deaths to determine whether they resulted from the drug or from other causes.

Amphetamines have proven safe over the last 50 years when prescribed to children in appropriate doses, doctors said, and studies of the drugs in children and adults alike have not found significant health risks in healthy people.

The Canadian decision "is a reminder that these are powerful drugs and we need to be very vigilant in prescribing them," said Dr. Thomas Newton, a psychiatrist at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. "But we have absolutely no idea what happened in these deaths and no idea what to look for" - and no reason to alarm patients.

Psychiatrists estimate that 2 percent to 5 percent of school-age children, mostly boys, have attention or hyperactivity problems serious enough to interfere with their classroom and social lives. A variety of medications help these children calm down and focus, researchers say, by activating areas of the brain involved in concentration.

They include amphetamines like Adderall and Dexedrine and stimulants like Ritalin and Concerta, a long-acting form of Ritalin. Strattera, another drug, acts something like an antidepressant. Of these drugs, the amphetamines are by far the most potent, and for some people, the most effective, experts said.

Yet while a drug's potency is often directly related to its risk of side effects, studies have not found significant differences between amphetamines and the other drugs used to treat attention and hyperactivity problems, said Dr. Joseph Biederman, chief of pediatric psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Biederman estimates that 30 percent to 40 percent of his patients cannot manage their attention problems well without amphetamines; Ritalin and Strattera are not strong enough for them, he said.

"This is not like high blood pressure, where we have many drugs to treat the condition," he said. "We only have three different kinds of drugs, and to lose one of them would cause an enormous amount of suffering."

The use of medications to treat hyperactivity and the number of children taking them have increased sharply in the last decade or so in the United States. Prescriptions of the drugs more than doubled during the 1990's, experts said, and doctors now recommend that children take their medication daily, instead of only on school days, as they once advised.

Depending on the dosages, longer-acting drugs like Adderall XR and Concerta may also expose children to more of the stimulants than they would get by taking two separate doses of shorter-acting pills, said Dr. William Pelham, director of the Center for Children and Families at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Dr. Pelham estimates that the increased use of long-acting formulations, combined with the advice to use them every day, has more than doubled the amount of medication that many children are exposed to, which should raise concerns about overtreatment.

Some doctors said they expected the news of Canada's withdrawal of Adderall XR to change some parents' and patients' behavior, if not their own.

"It may be that people are simply not going to want to deal with amphetamines as the first, front-line drugs; they'll want Ritalin instead," Dr. Bukstein of Pittsburgh said. "We do not have enough information to justify that decision, but it may not matter what we say."





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