Adverse Drug Reactions Related to Mood and Emotion in Pediatric Patients Treated for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Comparative Analysis of the US Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System Database
Pozzi M, Carnovale C, Mazhar F, Peeters GGAM, Gentili M, Nobile M, Radice S, Clementi E.
J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2019 Jun 11.
Commentary* by Dr. Margaret Weiss: This is a different methodological approach to looking at risk/benefit in medication treatment, demonstrating the increasing risk from methylphenidate to lisdexamfetamine, atomoxetine, and amphetamine.
BACKGROUND: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can be comorbid with frequent anxiety and mood disorders, as well as emotional symptoms (anxiety, irritability, mood lability). These may also be triggered by drugs and appear as adverse drug reactions (ADRs).
METHODS: We mined data from the US Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System pharmacovigilance database, focused on methylphenidate, atomoxetine, amphetamine, lisdexamfetamine, and their derivatives. We collected reports of ADRs connected with mood or emotional symptoms in pediatric patients, excluding drug abuse/accidents. Reporting odds ratios (RORs) were calculated and compared between drug classes and children/adolescents.
RESULTS: We collected 6176 ADRs of interest of which 59% occurred in children. Atomoxetine accounted for 50.7% of reports, methylphenidate for 32.5%, lisdexamfetamine for 14.2%, and amphetamine for 2.6%. Irritability, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, depressed mood, and euphoria scored significant RORs for all drugs, overall with an increasing risk from methylphenidate to atomoxetine, lisdexamfetamine, and amphetamine. Apathy regarded mostly atomoxetine, and crying regarded all drugs except methylphenidate. Several age-based differences were found. Notably, affect lability hit only adolescents. All drugs scored significant self-injury RORs, except
lisdexamfetamine in adolescents, with an increasing risk from methylphenidate to lisdexamfetamine, atomoxetine, and amphetamine. For suicidality, all drugs had significant RORs in children, and methylphenidate was better than atomoxetine and lisdexamfetamine. In adolescents, only methylphenidate and atomoxetine scored significant RORs.
CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that real-world data from the US Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting System are consistent with previous evidence from meta-analyses. They support a hierarchy of drug safety for several ADRs (except self-injury/suicidality) with methylphenidate as safest, followed by atomoxetine, lisdexamfetamine, and amphetamine last. Self injury and suicidality RORs were overall higher in children.
* Abstracts are selected for their clinical relevance by Dr. Margaret Weiss, Director of Clinical Research, Child Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard University. Her commentary reflects her own opinion, is not approved, or necessarily representative, of the opinion of the CADDRA board.