Taking medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears to reduce the risk of accidental injury. A study has found that when children and teens take Ritalin or Concerta (both drugs are methylphenidate), they are less likely to need a visit to the emergency room due to trauma.
A study looked at data on more than 17,300 of children and teens who were prescribed methylphenidate between 2001 and 2013 as treatment for their ADHD. The periods of time when they took methylphenidate and when they did not were compared.
Among these patients, 4,934 had at least one admission to the emergency room due to trauma. There were more than 8,400 admissions in these patients. More than 6,400 of the emergency room visits occurred while the children were not taking methylphenidate, compared to more than 2,000 visits while they were taking the medication.
The rate of trauma-related admission to the emergency room was lower when the patients were prescribed methylphenidate then when they were not. This was true for both boys and girls.
The reduction in injuries was more pronounced in older teens. Teens age 16 and older were 32% less likely to be injured while they took methylphenidate, compared to a 7% drop for younger children.
This reduced rate of injuries in children and teens with ADHD was associated with taking methylphenidate, but it does not prove that taking medications for ADHD prevented any injuries.
Other studies have found that children with ADHD are more prone to being injured. ADHD often makes a child or teen impulsive and interferes with concentration.
The study was conducted at the University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong, the University of Dundee in Scotland and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It was published in the journal Pediatrics and was reported on at HealthDay.com.