Chronic Pain And Health-Related Quality Of Life In Women With Autism And/Or ADHD: A Prospective Longitudinal Study

J Pain Res. 2019 Oct 18:12:2925-2932. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S212422. eCollection 2019.


Purpose: To investigate the prevalence of chronic pain and its association with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a group of women, diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) in childhood.

Patients and methods: Prospective longitudinal 16-19 years follow-up study of 100 Swedish females diagnosed with ASD and/or ADHD in childhood/adolescence. Seventy-seven of the women were included in the current sub-study, using validated measures of pain perception and quality of life.

Results: A large majority of the women (76.6%) reported chronic pain. HRQoL was low overall and lower still for those reporting chronic pain. Women with ADHD who had ongoing treatment with stimulants reported a significant lower prevalence of chronic widespread pain (CWP) than those not treated.

Conclusion: Comorbidity with chronic pain is common in women with ASD and/or ADHD and important to address in the clinic since it is associated with an already low HRQoL. Treatment for ADHD might reduce the pain in some cases.

Keywords: attention deficit disorder; autism spectrum disorder; female; girls; stimulants; widespread pain.