Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Medication and Unintentional Injuries in Children and Adolescents

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2020 Aug;59(8):944-951. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2019.06.010. Epub 2019 Jul 11.


Objective: Our objective was to determine whether attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication is associated with a decreased risk of unintentional injuries in children and adolescents in the United States across sexes, age groups and injury types.

Method: We used de-identified inpatient, outpatient, and filled prescription claims data from the Truven Health MarketScan Research Databases. Individuals were followed from January 1, 2005, date of first ADHD diagnosis, or medication prescription, or age 6 years, whichever occurred last, until December 31, 2014, first healthcare insurance disenrollment, or the first year at which their age was recorded as 19 years, whichever occurred first. A person was considered on ADHD medication during a given month if a prescription was filled in that month. The outcome was defined as emergency department visits for injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, with unintentional causes. Odds of having the outcome were compared between medicated and unmedicated months at the population-level and in within-individual analyses using logistic regression.

Results: Among 1,968,146 individuals diagnosed with ADHD or receiving ADHD medication, 87,154 had at least one event. At the population level, medication use was associated with a lower risk of injuries, both in boys (odds ratio [OR] = 0.85; 95% CI = 0.84-0.86) and girls (OR = 0.87; 95% CI = 0.85-0.89). Similar results were obtained from within-individual analysis among male (OR = 0.72; 95% CI = 0.70-0.74) and female (OR = 0.72; 95% CI = 0.69-0.75) children, and among male (OR = 0.64; 95% CI = 0.60-0.67) and female (OR = 0.65; 95% CI = 0.60-0.71) adolescents. Similar results were found for traumatic brain injuries.

Conclusion: ADHD medication use was associated with a reduction of different types of unintentional injuries in children and adolescents of both sexes.

Keywords: attention-deficit disorder with hyperactivity/drug therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity* / epidemiology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants* / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants