May 2005, Volume 35 Number 5 , p 30 - 30
In a study involving 12 children, Texas researchers found that methylphenidate (Ritalin) caused chromosome breaks associated with increased cancer risk. A mild central nervous system stimulant, Ritalin is widely prescribed to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
To document baseline chromosome abnormalities, researchers drew blood from 12 children diagnosed with ADHD who weren't yet taking Ritalin. Three months after the children started taking Ritalin, they were tested again. All 12 had chromosome breaks associated with increased cancer risk.
The researchers caution that their findings don't mean that children taking Ritalin will necessarily develop cancer. They call for larger studies to confirm their findings before clinicians change their prescribing practices. The drug's manufacturer, Novartis, says Ritalin, which has been used for decades, has a good safety record and that no evidence ...