ADHD

Updated 04 July 2014

ADD drugs may cause prolonged erections

A leading type of stimulant used to treat attention deficit disorder can cause rare cases of painful and long-lasting erections.

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A leading type of stimulant used to treat attention deficit disorder can cause rare cases of painful and long-lasting erections, the US Food and Drug Administration warned.

The agency, in a notice on its website, said its review documented the problem, formally known as priapism, in males 8 to 33 years of age who took drugs containing methylphenidate.

The chemical is the active ingredient of Novartis AG's Ritalin and Johnson & Johnson's Concerta.

Permanent damage

Generic forms of both drugs are also widely used. Drug labels of such products will be updated to warn of the potential but rare danger, the FDA said. "Younger males, especially those that have not yet reached puberty, may not recognize the problem or may be embarrassed to tell anyone if it occurs," the FDA said.

The agency said patients developing erections lasting more than four hours should seek immediate medical attention to prevent permanent damage to the penis.

A non-stimulant drug also used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Eli Lilly and Co's Strattera, has also been linked to priapism in young children, teenagers and adults.

Strattera, whose chemical name is atomoxetine, appears to pose a greater risk than methylphenidate products, the FDA said. "Health care professionals should be cautious when considering changing patients from methylphenidate to atomoxetine" products, the agency said.

 

 

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ADHD Expert

Dr Renata Schoeman has been in full-time private practice as a general psychiatrist (child, adolescent and adult psychiatry) since 2008, currently based in Oude Westhof (Bellville). Renata also holds appointments as senior lecturer in Leadership (USB) and as a virtual faculty member of USB Executive Development’s Neuroleadership programme. She serves on the advisory boards of various pharmaceutical companies, as a director of the Psychiatric Management Group (PsychMG) and is the co-convenor of the South African Society of Psychiatrist (SASOP) special interest group for adult ADHD, and co-founder of the Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation (www.gb4adhd.co.za) She is passionate about corporate mental health awareness and uses her neuroscience background to assist leaders in equipping them to become balanced, healthy and dynamic leaders that take their own and their team’s emotional, intellectual, social health and physical needs into account. Renata is academically active and enjoys research and collaborative work, has published in many peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at local and international congresses. She is regularly invited to present at conferences and to engage with the media. During her post-graduate studies, she trained at Harvard, Boston in neurocognition and neuroimaging. Her awards include, amongst others, the Young Minds in Psychiatry award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Discovery Foundation Fellowship award, a Thuthuka award from the NRF, and a MRC Fellowship. She also received the Top MBA student award and the Director’s award from USB for 2015. She was a finalist for the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s Businesswoman of the Year Award for 2016, and received the Excellence in Media Work award from SASOP during 2016.

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