Health Canada has announced that stronger, clearer warnings on the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours are being incorporated into the prescribing information for drugs used in the management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The new warnings advise that there have been reports of suicide-related events in patients treated with ADHD drugs. The repor ts involved thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, and in a very small number of cases, completed suicide. The risk was already known for one ADHD drug, Strattera (atomoxetine), and was incorporated into its prescribing information in 2005.
The statement from Health Canada says, ‘There are different types of ADHD drugs and the evidence varies with respect to the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours.’ It adds that while new information has emerged to suggest that the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours may apply to all other ADHD drugs ‘There is little evidence to establish that these drugs cause suicidal thoughts and behaviours, but it is possible that they may contribute to the risk.’
Despite the new evidence Health Canada maintains that, ‘the benefits of these drugs in the effective management of ADHD continue to outweigh their risks.’ The possible occurrence of psychiatric side-effects with ADHD drugs is included in the prescribing information (product monographs) in a warning section that emphasises the importance of monitoring moods, behaviours, thoughts and feelings in adults and children taking the medications, and the importance of taking psychiatric disorders into account when prescribing these drugs.