- CCHR Australia - http://cchr.org.au -

ADHD drugs can Permanently Increase Blood Pressure

CCHR Calls for Australian Draft ADHD Guidelines to be Scrapped: Landmark Study Shows ADHD drugs can Permanently Increase Blood Pressure

Ipad with the Text Side Effects on the DisplayThe release of the landmark Raine Study in Western Australia that shows ADHD drugs worsen academic performance and dangerously increase diastolic blood pressure (the pressure between heart beats) has prompted calls for the Draft ADHD Guidelines to be scrapped. This side effect can predispose children to the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) said the ADHD Guidelines, if implemented, will further put Australian children at risk. For years the risks of ADHD drugs, including death and suicidal behavior have been known. In 2006, Australian warnings were strengthened highlighting the risk of cardiac problems with all ADHD drugs in children with existing heart conditions. The new study shows the drugs may cause the condition in children without pre-existing heart conditions. Ritalin also carries a warning for suicide and suicidal ideation.

This Raine Study, conducted by the Telethon Institute, is a world first long-term study which debunks psychiatrists’ claims that stimulants help children focus and, thereby helps increase academic performance. Researchers found: “Stimulant medication use increased the odds of below-age-level academic achievement by a factor of 10 times” which “strongly suggests that medication may not result in any long term academic gains (as rated by a classroom teacher).”

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians Draft ADHD Guidelines were halted under a cloud of controversy in late 2009 when CCHR revealed that US psychiatrist, Joseph Biederman-upon whose studies the Committee, in part, relied-is currently under U.S. Congressional investigation for his undisclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Biederman, studies are cited more than 70 times in the ADHD guidelines. The US Senate Finance Committee is investigating his receiving up to US$1.6 million from drug companies to research and promote specific drugs.

That conflict of interest also dogged the RACP Committee developing the ADHD Guidelines and last year it was forced under public pressure to reveal its members’ financial ties to drug companies. In many cases, those drug companies produce the drugs that currently appear as the first line of treatment for “moderate to severe ADHD” in the Guidelines. At least 10 of the 19 members have/have had financial ties, with the most recent draft listing their conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical industry. See below for details.

The Committee reported that it analysed 265 studies in the Draft Systematic Review document, which was then used to write the Guidelines. A total of 89 or 31% of these studies were industry funded. The pharmaceutical industry has already benefited from an annual 12% increase in prescription rates of psychostimulants since 2003/04, with sales of these drugs now reaching $21 million on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has already reported 863 suspected adverse reactions to ADHD drugs. These include the sudden death of a 7 year old, a 5 year old that suffered a stroke after taking Ritalin along with 23 reports of suicidal behaviour in children.

“The Raine study has international significance,” Ms. Shelley Wilkins, Executive Director of the Australian National Office of CCHR, said. “It, along with the many other studies, reinforces the fact that ADHD drugs harm children. And parents who have been led to believe that stimulants can help their children’s school grades have been deceived. Add to this the clear conflict of interests within the Committee members, and there is no other action the government can take but to scrap the Guidelines. We should no longer tolerate our children being exposed to potentially life-threatening mind-altering drugs,” says Ms Wilkins.

Dualities and Conflicts of Interest of ADHD Guidelines Committee Members

For further information please contact CCHR, which was co-founded by the Church of Scientology & Professor of Psychiatry, Dr Thomas Szasz in 1969 to investigate and expose psychiatric violations against human rights.


  1. “Draft ADHD Guidelines on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, List of Appendices,” The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, June 2009, p.4.
  2. Clinical Excellence Commission Report: “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and adolescents in New South Wales- 2007. Final Report of the Special Review, December 2007,” page 64.
  3. Draft ADHD Guidelines on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, List of Appendices, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians,” June 2009, p.8.
  4. “Teenagers with ADHD” http://www.adhdsupport.com.au/pdf/adolescent.pdf accessed 18th July 2008, See page 2 and “Draft ADHD Guidelines on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, List of Appendices, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians,” June 2009, p.9.
  5. Freedom of Information Request done by Citizens Committee on Human Rights to the Australian Department of Health and Ageing. Documents released to CCHR on 12 December 2008.
  6. Draft ADHD Guidelines on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, List of Appendices,” The Royal Australasian College of Physicians,” June 2009, p.6.
  7. Draft ADHD Guidelines on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, List of Appendices, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians,” June 2009, p.6.
  8. Draft ADHD Guidelines on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, List of Appendices, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians,” June 2009, p.6 & 7.
  9. Freedom of Information Request done by Citizens Committee on Human Rights to the Australian Department of Health and Ageing. Documents released to CCHR on 15 September 2008.
  10. Draft ADHD Guidelines on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, List of Appendices, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians,” June 2009, p.9 & 10.
  11. Freedom of Information Request done by Citizens Committee on Human Rights to the Australian Department of Health and Ageing. Documents released to CCHR on 15 September 2008.
  12. Freedom of Information Request done by Citizens Committee on Human Rights to the Australian Department of Health and Ageing. Documents released to CCHR on 15 September 2008.
  13. Freedom of Information Request done by Citizens Committee on Human Rights to the Australian Department of Health and Ageing. Documents released to CCHR on 8 January 2009