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Exposure to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications during pregnancy

Caitlin Humphreys, MD, Facundo Garcia-Bournissen, MD, Shinya Ito, MD FRCPC and Gideon Koren, MD FRCPC

July 2007



An 18-year-old patient of mine, currently under treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with methylphenidate, just found out that she is pregnant. What are the risks for the baby when the mother uses ADHD medications during pregnancy?


Available evidence for amphetamines suggests no increased risk of malformations with use of therapeutic doses, and inadvertent exposure during pregnancy is unlikely to be harmful. Human data for methylphenidate and atomoxetine treatment in pregnancy are very limited. Documented cases do not suggest teratogenicity, but we cannot rule out this risk with the information available.


Une de mes patientes de 18 ans, actuellement traitée aves du méthylphénidate pour trouble d’hyperactivité avec déficit de l’attention (THADA), vient d’apprendre qu’elle est enceinte. Quels sont les risques pour l’enfant lorsque la mère prend des médicaments contre le THADA durant la grossesse?


Selon les données scientifiques actuelles, le recours aux amphétamines à doses thérapeutiques ne comporte pas de risque accru de malformations et l’exposition par inadvertance durant la grossesse ne devrait probablement pas être dommageable. Les données sur les sujets humains concernant le traitement au méthylphénidate et à l’atomoxétine durant la grossesse sont très limitées. Les cas documentés ne révèlent pas qu’ils sont tératogènes, mais nous ne pouvons pas écarter cette possibilité compte tenu des renseignements à notre disposition.

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