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Trends in Medication Treatment for ADHD


Objective: This study examines demographic trends in the use of medications to treat ADHD in adult and pediatric populations. Method: Using pharmacy claims data for a large population of commercially insured Americans, the study measures ADHD treatment prevalence and drug use from 2000 to 2005. Results: In 2005, 4.4% of children (ages 0 to 19) and 0.8% of adults (ages 20 and older) used ADHD medications. Treatment rates were higher in boys (6.1%) than in girls (2.6%), but the rates for men and women were approximately equal (0.8%). During the period of the study, treatment prevalence increased rapidly (11.8% per year) for the population as a whole. Treatment rates grew more rapidly for adults than for children, more rapidly for women than for men, and more rapidly for girls than for boys. Conclusion: Improved identification of ADHD in adult and female patients has contributed to rapid growth in ADHD medication use.

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