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Health News For Parents

More than a million children between the ages of five and 18 take the drug Ritalin, but there have been concerns about its effect on the heart, reports CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay. As a result, many children taking the drugs are given electrocardiograms to monitor their health.

However, the American Heart Association is now telling parents that, while EKGs are a good idea for kids who are prone to palpitations or fainting, they probably aren't necessary for most children on Ritalin.

Ritalin, the brand name for generic drug methylphenidate, is prescribed for children diagnosed as being hyperactive or having attention-deficit disorder.

In other health news, the Food and Drug Administration is telling the makers of some allergy and asthma drugs that they must put labels on their products warning parents that they can stunt the growth of some children. The FDA is advising parents and doctors to keep an eye on their children's growth.

Studies have shown the drugs can cause a growth reduction of about one centimeter, or one third of an inch, a year. In the meantime, patients and their parents are advised to use the lowest effective dose of their medicine, but not to stop taking it without consulting a doctor.

About 12 different drugs will have the new labeling, including both oral and inhaled critical steroids that are used to treat allergies and asthma.

Reported By Dr. Emily Senay

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