Trends in medication treatment for ADHD

J Atten Disord. 2007 May;10(4):335-42. doi: 10.1177/1087054707299597.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Utilization / trends
  • Drugs, Generic / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insurance, Pharmaceutical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Drugs, Generic