Objective: Stimulants are recommended as a first-line treatment for attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); however, a subset of the patient population augments their stimulant treatment with other medications. The objective of this study was to estimate the 1 year period prevalence of concomitant psychotropic medication use among children and adolescents with ADHD during 2009.
Methods: Patients 6-17 years of age with one or more primary ADHD diagnoses between July 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 and one or more stimulant prescription fills during 2009 were identified from a large United States commercial claims database. Concomitant psychotropic medication use, defined as 30 days of continuous medication supply overlap between the augmenting agent and stimulant, was evaluated for 14 distinct psychotropic medication categories (6 with a United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved indication for ADHD, 8 without an indication for ADHD). The 1 year period prevalence of concomitant psychotropic medication use (both overall and within each medication category) was calculated and compared between patients with and without psychiatric or neurologic comorbidities. Children (6-12 years) and adolescents (13-17 years) were evaluated separately.
Results: A total of 71,201 children and 49,959 adolescents met the inclusion criteria. The 1 year period prevalence of concomitant psychotropic medication use among children and adolescents was 20.3% and 23.4%, with 5.7% and 6.7% augmenting with two or more medication categories, respectively. The most common concomitant medication categories were selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (children: 6.2%; adolescents: 11.4%), atypical antipsychotics (5.8%; 6.8%) and clonidine immediate release (5.4%; 2.9%). Children and adolescents with psychiatric or neurologic comorbidities had higher rates of augmentation than did those without comorbidities (all p<0.001).
Conclusions: This epidemiologic study found that the prevalence of concomitant psychotropic medication use in children and adolescents ranged from 12.6% for noncomorbid ADHD to 41.7% for comorbid ADHD, in 2009. Future research is warranted to evaluate the rationale for, and clinical benefit of, concomitant psychotropic medication usage in patients with ADHD.