Long-term use of ADHD drugs impair fertility in mammals

Impaired reproduction after exposure to ADHD drugs : Nordic Cochrane Centre systematic review of animal studies

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Researchers from the Nordic Cochrane Centre have reviewed animal studies for effects of long-term use of drugs against Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The findings show that long-term use may impair the reproductive system, with some studies showing delayed sexual maturation. There were a total of 17 studies available, published between 1975 and 2016, where 13 were rat trials.

2017 Study Abstract

Few studies have reported on long-term harms caused by ADHD drugs but they are known to impair growth.

To assess whether ADHD drugs impair reproduction in mammals.

Systematic review of reproduction in studies of animals treated with ADHD drugs.

PubMed, Biosis and EMBASE.

We included 17 studies. The studies were generally of poor quality or poorly reported. Two studies reported the use of one of three advised randomisation methods. Fifteen studies used placebo which suggested blinding. On clonidine, the ability to produce offspring was reduced for male rats, which approached two females each. In one study, 10 treated rats produced no offspring while all four controls did. In another study, 10 treated rats impregnated nine females while 10 controls impregnated 16. On methylphenidate, vaginal opening was delayed in two studies (in one, the mean difference was 4.0 days, 95% CI 2.5 to 5.6, and number of estrous cycles was halved; in the other, the minimum delay was 6 days), while in two other studies no difference occurred. Generally, the impairments improved after a drug-free period and were less pronounced when treatment started later in life.

ADHD drugs impair the reproduction in animals.

Sources, More Information

  • Impaired reproduction after exposure to ADHD drugs: Systematic review of animal studies, IOS Press, International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine, vol. 29, no. 1-2, pp. 107-124, DOI: 10.3233/JRS-170743, 2 September 2017.
  • New systematic review links long-term use of ADHD drugs to impaired fertility in mammals, Cochrane Nordic, Oct 11 2017.
  • Featured image The Cochrane Collaboration on Facebook.

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