Ritalin Dangerous For Children

Since I have a lot of patients with children and grandchildren in my practice, I wanted to share with you some information on Ritalin that I came across.  This is important because ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed disorder in children, and Ritalin is the drug of choice for this condition. 

A recent study shows that healthy kids who take Ritalin have a 500% greater risk of sudden death. 

Yes, you might want to read that again to let it soak in. 

Keep in mind that these aren’t kids with pre-existing health or heart conditions.  These are “healthy” kids we are talking about here. 

This is more proof that what you’ve been told for decades about Ritalin…that it’s safe for kids…is far from the truth.

Here’s some more information you need to know about Ritalin…

Ritalin is a stimulant. It causes the heart to beat faster. And that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.  Ritalin acts exactly like amphetamines such as crystal meth and cocaine.

In spite of evidence that Ritalin can stunt the growth of children (1), and cause irreversible brain damage (2) and that it is linked to serious cardiovascular events, the FDA remains silent about the dangers of this dangerous drug.

Objections to the FDA’s sluggishness are even starting to appear in conservative medical journals like JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. In a recent editorial, they criticized the FDA by saying the FDA is “interpreting the results cautiously.”

Plus, JAMA notes that the FDA funded and approved the design of the study. Only when the results came out did they have a problem with the design of the study. I guess the FDA didn’t like the results their own design produced.

This is the big point for all of us: Doctors hand out Ritalin prescriptions every day. And too often you aren’t told of the dangers (which is why I’m telling you about them).

What’s more, studies show that Ritalin doesn’t even work. The same study that found Ritalin stunts kids’ growth also found that it has no beneficial effect on behavior over a three-year period.

So if you have kids or grandkids who have trouble concentrating, focusing, or calming down, here are some easy, safe, and natural ways to bring kids “to attention” without endangering their mental and physical health.

1. Increase the consumption of omega-3 in their diet. Studies show that many children with ADHD don’t get enough omega-3.  Try to give the child 1000 mg of omega-3s every day.

2. Pine bark extract.  This is another natural supplement that works. A European study using pycnogenol, an organic compound found in the bark of the French maritime pine tree, showed that after only one month, children’s behavior improved significantly on as little as 1 mg per day. (3)

3. Some naturally occurring amino acids can treat ADHD.

One of them is 5-HTP. Try 50 to 100 mg three times per day with meals.

Another is tyrosine. The optimal dose is 5,000 mg per day for children and up to 10,000 mg per day for adults.

4. Chiropractic care.  Many people still don’t know that chiropractic care works great with children.  With nutritional supplements and chiropractic adjustments, I’ve helped several children who were diagnosed with ADHD improve dramatically.

Jason Gerard, D.C.


Jensen et al, “3-Year Follow-up of the NIMH MTA Study.” Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2007. 46(8):989-1002.

Gray et al, “Methylphenidate Administration to Juvenile Rats Alters Brain Areas Involved in Cognition, Motivated Behaviors, Appetite, and Stress,” Journal of Neuroscience, 2007, 27(27):7196-7207.

Trebatická et al, “Treatment of ADHD with French maritime pine bark extract, Pycnogenol.” European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2006. 15(6):329-35.

On November 20th, 2009, posted in: Health News by