Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who take medications are not at greater risk of substance abuse later in life than untreated peers, according to a study published on Wednesday.
The findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry were based on a meta-analysis of 15 previous studies, dating from 1980 to 2012, that included more than 2,500 participants with ADHD.
Some of those children were prescribed medication while others were not.
Researchers found children who took medications like Ritalin were neither more nor less prone to try or abuse alcohol, nicotine and other drugs compared to untreated ADHD kids.
"We found no association between the use of medication such as Ritalin and future abuse of alcohol, nicotine, marijuana and cocaine," said lead author Kathryn Humphreys, a doctoral candidate in UCLA's department of psychology.
As a result, researchers said their work provides "an important update" to the body of knowledge about drug abuse and ADHD medications.
Read more: New York Daily News