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ADHD drugs ‘common source of drug reactions’

Drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder were the most common source of yellow card reports in children after vaccinations, a new analysis reveals.

A review of reports submitted to the MHRA between 2000 and 2009 found that 14% of yellow cards were related to drug reactions in patients under the age of 17.

Two-thirds of those are for reactions to vaccines, but the next most common were for ADHD drugs – with 653 reports for methylphenidate and 491 reports for atomoxetine over the nine-year study period.

The results also showed a large increase in recent years in nurses reporting adverse drug reactions in children – accounting for 43% of all reports in 2009.

It is thought nurses are drawing attention to problems that previously went unreported because the number of doctor reports has not changed.

Dr Daniel Hawcutt, clinical lecturer in paediatric pharmacology at the University of Liverpool, said: ‘Excluding vaccines, methylphenidate and atomoxetine were the most commonly reported medications, and the most commonly reported symptom was vomiting.

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2011 online 11 October