Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Suicide Risk with Medication

I had to share this story from CNN about really young kids and suicide. I do think there are kids who have ADHD who need medication, but it is petrifying to think that medicine could lead to a child taking his/her own life. If any of you have children with ADHD tendencies or have kids on medication for it, please read this story!

FROM CNN: It's been six months since nine-year-old Montana Lance hanged himself in his school's bathroom. Why he did it continues to haunt his family. The parents want to know if a drug Montana was taking for Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is to blame.

When Montana Lance was found dead at Stewart's Creek Elementary, parents in the colony couldn't believe a nine-year-old boy would hang himself in a school bathroom. "It's just sad. I just can't imagine what would make a nine-year-old boy feel this way." The autopsy report said amphetamines were found in his blood.

Montana's parents did not go on camera, but they said Montana had been taking a new medication for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder called Vyvanse. It went on the market in 2007.
Since then, there have been more than 130 individual safety reports to the FDA concerning Vyvanse and suicide, from people as old as 54, as young as 6. FDA data says 37 Vyvanse patients who considered suicide were younger than 10.

There were at least two seven-year-olds who completed the act.
According to the CDC, in all of 2007, only four people under the age of 10 committed suicide in the U.S. "For the most part, it is a very safe medication." Dr. Syed Quaudri prescribes Vyvanse for some of his pediatric patients. He told me there is a known risk for all stimulants and ADHD drugs especially if there are symptoms of bipolar disorder or depression. "So when you don't treat that and you're just treating ADHD, yes, you are going to have somebody who is depressed and irritable, and can commit suicide."

The maker of Vyvanse, shire, would not comment specifically on Montana lance, but sent this statement:
"It is important to note that simply because there is a specific medication present in a person's system at the time of their passing, it does not mean the medication had any correlation with the cause of their passing." On the medication guide for Vyvanse, the FDA warns of new psychotic symptoms linked to amphetamines, and tells patients to tell their doctor about any family history of bipolar disorder or suicide. Montana's mother said she suspected her son was bipolar, but it was never diagnosed. Melissa Petty leads the North Texas add support group. "It's too quiet. this would be a difficult place for a person with ADHD." She's also the parent of an ADHD child. She says parents need to trust their instincts and ask questions before their child is prescribed any ADHD drug.

And make sure you see a child psychiatrist, not just a pediatrician.
"These medications are serious. They're expensive. You need to have somebody who has experience treating ADHD in children, and has lots of experience." The Lance family still believes that Montana was bullied into suicide. But they continue to look for other reasons a nine-year-old would end his own life.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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