Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: increased costs for patients and their families

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2003 Dec;42(12):1415-23. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200312000-00008.


Objective: To estimate the direct (medical and prescription drug) and indirect (work loss) costs of children treated for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and their family members.

Method: The data source was an administrative database from a national, Fortune 100 manufacturer that included all medical, pharmaceutical, and disability claims for beneficiaries (n > 100,000). The analysis involved four samples. The ADHD patient sample included individuals age 18 or younger with at least one ADHD claim during the study period (1996-1998). Resource utilization of ADHD patients was contrasted with a matched control sample of patients who did not have claims for ADHD. The ADHD and non-ADHD family samples included non-ADHD family members of ADHD patients and their matched controls.

Results: The annual average expenditure (direct cost) per ADHD patient was $1,574, compared to $541 among matched controls. The annual average payment (direct plus indirect cost) per family member was $2,728 for non-ADHD family members of ADHD patients versus $1,440 for family members of matched controls. Both patient and family cost differences were significant at the 95% confidence level.

Conclusions: ADHD imposes a significant financial burden regarding the cost of medical care and work loss for patients and family members.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / economics*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Drug Costs / trends
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / trends*
  • Health Expenditures / trends
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Infant
  • Male