Roughly 11% of children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. As of 2011, that would be approximately 6.4 million people. However, that number is most likely on the rise. In 2003, it was 7.8%; in 2007, it was 9.5%. As ADHD can interfere with day-to-day tasks the rest of us take for granted, it’s only natural that people would look for methods to help tame this condition.
Though some medications have been developed to help, the most popular version by far is Adderall. However, even though people all over the world may fill prescriptions for this popular stimulant, there have also been some lawsuits that call into question just how safe it is to take.
How Adderall Works
As we just mentioned, Adderall is designed for treating ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder). Specifically, the symptoms this drug is meant to help with are:
- Lack of focus
- Excessive talking
- Frequent interrupting
Despite the potential problems, we’re about to discuss; the drug remains approved by the FDA for children, adolescents, and adults to take. The drug is a combination of amphetamine salts:
- Dextroamphetamine sulfate
- Amphetamine Aspartate
- Dextroamphetamine saccharate
- Amphetamine sulfate
Oddly enough, it’s unknown how amphetamines improve the problems associated with ADHD. We know that Adderall’s stimulating effects occur because of its control of neurotransmitters in the brain, but that doesn’t explain why this would be good for those suffering from ADHD.
Adderall is sometimes prescribed for other conditions as well. Narcolepsy is a good example. As narcoleptics labor with an ailment that can make them immediately go to sleep at any moment, this type of stimulant can be incredibly helpful.
Adderall Abuse and Side Effects
Many people believe that Adderall helps them study longer, maintain their focus and, thus, learn more. As a result, the drug is extremely popular amongst those who don’t have a prescription for it.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has Adderall listed as a Schedule II controlled substance. This means that it has a higher potential for abuse, the result of which would be psychological or physical in nature. Treatment centers are now commonplace throughout the country because of how widespread Adderall addiction has become across people of all ages.
Lawsuits Related to Adderall
Some people have decided to sue the makers of Adderall for the unintended consequences of taking the drug. Examples of the side effects that are often mentioned in these suits include:
- Tics or the worsening of preexisting tics
- Exacerbation of Tourette Syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
As we mentioned earlier, Adderall has been linked to psychological problems as well. These severe side effects include:
- Psychosis and mania (even in those with no prior history)
The popular drug could lead to premature deaths. Recently, the FDA released findings that show Adderall may have been involved in the deaths of 51 people taking it.
Lawsuits Against Shire Pharmaceuticals
The maker of Adderall, Shire Pharmaceuticals, has been sued many times in the past because of the drug. It has gone so far as to agree with the FDA’s intent to conduct further studies on the drug’s safety. It did not agree, however, with the agency’s recommendation to black-box the prescription drug with a particular warning about its potential side effects.
Most of the lawsuits filed against Shire Pharmaceuticals about Adderall claim that the company has been negligent in releasing information about the dangers of their drug.
One lawsuit was filed in November 2011 after a man named Joshua Jashke was prescribed Adderall and other drugs at Oregon State Hospital. A mental patient, Jashke would go on to suffer two heart attacks in a single week, resulting in permanent heart damage. Jashke was only 32.
If you’re currently taking Adderall or are having concerns you may be suffering adverse side effects, talk to a doctor right away. Should they agree, you’ll want help from an attorney with experience in going after Shire Pharmaceutical.