Skip to content

    ADD & ADHD Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    More Young Adults Taking ADHD Drugs

    ADHD Drugs Jumps 19% in Young Adults in 2005, Report Shows
    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    March 21, 2006 -- The use of prescription drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) rose again in 2005, mainly among young adults.

    So says Medco Health Solutions, which manages prescription drug benefit programs. Medco checked prescription data for 2.5 million patients nationwide.

    For young adults (aged 20-44), ADHD prescriptions rose nearly 19% in 2005 and about 139% from 2000 to 2005, according to Medco.

    For kids and teens (aged 0 to 19), growth in ADHD medication use was less than half of 1% in 2005. That number is a stark change from years of much higher growth -- 9% to 16% per year from 2000 to 2004.

    'Growing Trend' for Adults

    In a news release, Medco's chief medical officer, Robert Epstein, MD, MS, commented on the findings."This new research indicates that we're seeing a growing trend in the use of ADHD medications among adults," Epstein says. "In 2005, the numbers continued upward from 2004, as they have every year since the beginning of this decade." ADHD Questionnaire: Check Your Symptoms ADHD Questionnaire: Check Your Symptoms The FDA has studied and continues to analyze safety issues related to ADHD drugs."While there is a growing acceptance that ADHD is not just a childhood disease and can impair adults as well as children, the possible cardiovascular issues associated with ADHD drugs should be weighed very seriously when prescribing these drugs for adults since they're at greater risk of heart disease and stroke than children," Epstein says.

    In a news release, Medco's chief medical officer, Robert Epstein, MD, MS, commented on the findings.

    "This new research indicates that we're seeing a growing trend in the use of ADHD medications among adults," Epstein says. "In 2005, the numbers continued upward from 2004, as they have every year since the beginning of this decade."

    The FDA has studied and continues to analyze safety issues related to ADHD drugs.

    "While there is a growing acceptance that ADHD is not just a childhood disease and can impair adults as well as children, the possible cardiovascular issues associated with ADHD drugs should be weighed very seriously when prescribing these drugs for adults since they're at greater risk of heart disease and stroke than children," Epstein says.

    Gender Gap Shrinking

    While ADHD prescriptions were more common for males than females in every age group, the gender gap was much narrower for young adults and is shrinking for kids, according to Medco.

    "While boys still far outnumber girls taking ADHD drugs, girls are increasingly being diagnosed and treated for the condition," Epstein says. "ADHD in girls can be less noticeable than in boys and in the past was often overlooked. However, that appears to be changing."

    Today on WebMD

    Post it notes
    Symptoms and treatments.
    Close up of eye
    What's zapping your focus?
     
    man driving car
    How to manage your impulses.
    contemplating woman
    Learn to stop procrastinating.
     
    concentration killers
    SLIDESHOW
    Woman taking a vitamin or supplement
    Article
     
    ADHD and Substance Abuse
    Article
    Reduce Side Effects ADHD Medications
    Article
     

    woman with adhd doing college homework
    Article
    smiling man
    Article
     
    ADHD in Marriage and Romantic Relationships
    Article
    Adult man lying awake in bed
    Article