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Prescriptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder rise in the United States

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/13/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

More than nine percent of all prescription was for boys aged 12 to 18 years

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, more commonly known as ADHD is a condition that usually limits the patient's attention span. Prescription drugs used to treat this condition has skyrocketed in the United States in recent years, in particular among adults. The condition is usually diagnosed in childhood, when a child is unable to concentrate on schoolwork.

Based upon the pharmacy records of about 15 million privately insured people in the U.S., the report addressed 400,000 patients who filled at least one prescription for an ADHD medication. The most popular of these medications are stimulant-based drugs like Adderall and Concerta.

Based upon the pharmacy records of about 15 million privately insured people in the U.S., the report addressed 400,000 patients who filled at least one prescription for an ADHD medication. The most popular of these medications are stimulant-based drugs like Adderall and Concerta.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/13/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: ADHD, Adderall, diagnosis, age groups, medication


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Express Scripts, the nation's largest prescription drug manager commissioned the report. The findings of the report are likely to widen the debate over whether ADHD is over diagnosed.

Some medical experts say the rise in diagnoses of ADHD is account to a renewed awareness of the disorder. Others believe the study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that ADHD prescriptions may be outpacing actual cases of ADHD.

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There are also concerns that medication is being too quickly prescribed without enough consideration for other forms of treatment.

Based upon the pharmacy records of about 15 million privately insured people in the U.S., the report addressed 400,000 patients who filled at least one prescription for an ADHD medication. The most popular of these medications are stimulant-based drugs like Adderall and Concerta.

The number of Americans using prescription drugs to treat ADHD rose 36 percent between 2008 and 2012. More interestingly, women between 26 and 34 years of age, ADHD-related prescriptions rose 85 percent. Prescriptions for adults in general went up 53 percent, to an estimated 2.6 million Americans.

Surprisingly, the rises among children were less steep, probably due to the fact that the rates of prescription for this group were already much higher. In 2012, 5.7 percent of children were prescribed ADHD medication. Some subsets of that group have much higher rates. More than nine percent of boys aged 12 to 18 were prescribed the drug in 2012.

As to the various theories as to why prescriptions are on the rise, most experts say the numbers show two disparate trends:

One is that ADHD is becoming more widely recognized as a legitimate diagnosis. As a result, more patients are being correctly diagnosed. The other solution is that ADHD medication has been over-prescribed, used as a solution to other issues such as kids' behavioral problems in school.

While the study is likely to add to a growing debate about the use of prescription drugs, experts warn that the overmedication question is a complicated one.

"That's the million-dollar question," Paul Morgan, a professor and researcher of diagnosis disparities at Penn State says. "You want to be cautious you're not over-diagnosing, but not so cautious that you aren't diagnosing people who actually have ADHD.

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