Concerta Suicide Risks

Concerta Suicide Risks

Concerta (methylphenidate extended release) is a stimulant drug which has been increasingly prescribed to children, teens, and adolescents who struggle with behavioral issues linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Recently, Health Canada warned that young patients who take Concerta and related drugs may be at an increased risk for suicidal thoughts or actions, and Concerta side effects have been associated with at least one completed suicide.

If you or someone you love uses a drug like Concerta, it is vitally important that you are properly warned of potentially serious or even fatal Concerta side effects, including mania, psychosis, and suicide. If you have already suffered as a result of Concerta suicide or other Concerta side effects, our dangerous drug lawyers can help you pursue just compensation for your damages.

Health Canada warns of Concerta Suicide Risk

Health Canada warned that a specific ADHD drug, Strattera (atomoxetine) may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in 2005.

In March 2015, Health Canada issued a new ADHD drug suicide risk warning, stating that “New information has emerged since to suggest that the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours may apply to all other ADHD drugs.” Concerta was specifically mentioned in this warning, as were a number of other medications frequently prescribed to children and adolescents including Ritalin, Adderall, and Vyvanse.

Here, Health Canada emphasizes “the importance of monitoring moods, behaviours, thoughts and feelings in adults and children taking these medications, and the importance of taking psychiatric disorders into account when prescribing these drugs.”

Research links Concerta, ADHD Drugs to Risk of Suicide, Mania, Psychosis

While the recent Health Canada warnings about Concerta suicide risks and the risk of suicidal thoughts or actions in children and teens who use ADHD drugs may have brought increased attention to this issue, the truth is that there is a substantial body of research in which Concerta and related drugs have been associated with severe psychological and psychiatric side effects including suicide.


  • In a study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2009, researchers analyzed data from 49 randomized, controlled clinical trials conducted during the phases of pediatric development for stimulant medications approved to treat ADHD. They found that children exposed to these drugs were significantly more likely to experience psychosis, mania, and hallucinations.
  • Also in 2009, a study published in the Drug Safety Journal noted that children under the age of 14 who take ADHD medications including Concerta may be up to 162 times more likely to consider, attempt, or commit suicide.
  • In 2012, The Toronto Star published the results of their investigation into serious side effects associated with ADHD medications, including Concerta. Here, the Star reviewed nearly 600 adverse event reports chronicling serious side effects suffered by children taking ADHD medications over the previous 10 years. In addition to reports of amnesia, mania, and psychosis in young patients who took ADHD drugs, the Star uncovered multiple reports of attempted or completed suicide in these young patients: “Twenty-two youths aged 8 to 18 tried to kill themselves and two demonstrated suicidal behaviour. Seven completed the attempt. All boys. An 11-year-old, one 14-year-old, two 13-year-olds and three 15-year-olds.” They also found four deaths not related to suicide, including one case where an 18-year-old female patient taking an ADHD drug died of a cerebral hemorrhage. The article went on to state, “In the 10 years reviewed by the Star, 76 kids on ADHD medications thought about killing themselves. One-third of these were children younger than 10, some as young as 6.” Specifically, this investigation uncovered 12 reports of suicidal ideations in Concerta patients. Of these patients, one successfully committed suicide.
  • In March 2014, a study led by Katia Harle, PhD at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine and published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that college-age individuals who occasionally used stimulants like Concerta were more impulsive than those who did not use ADHD drugs.


Speak with a Dangerous Drug Lawyer

Though regulators in Canada have warned that Concerta and related drugs may cause suicidal ideations or actions in young ADHD patients, no such warning has been issued in the United States nor has a Concerta recall been initiated. If you believe that proper warning of serious Concerta side effects may have prevented your loved one’s suicide attempt or suicide, you may be owed compensation for your suffering and damages. To learn more about Concerta suicide risks and possible compensation, please contact us to schedule a free legal consultation with an experienced dangerous drug lawyer.