Medication Use Growing Quickly in Adults

AD/HD medication use in adults has doubled in recent years, rapidly outpacing the growth of use in children.

Thursday December 1st - 12:00am

The number of adults taking AD/HD medication doubled in the last four years, dramatically outpacing the growth in the number of AD/HD drug prescriptions for children. That's the major finding of a recent analysis of 2.4 million prescriptions nationwide.

"This analysis clearly shows that AD/HD is no longer just about children," says Robert Epstein, M.D., chief medical officer of Medco Health Solutions, the prescription drug management company that conducted the analysis. "Although it's surprising to see this shift, it is in line with research that shows that half of the children on medication for AD/HD will still need drug therapy as adults."

Medco attributed the growth to increasing numbers of adults seeking diagnosis and treatment of AD/HD for the first time. The number of women and men using medication is roughly the same. However, boys using AD/HD medications outnumber girls nearly two to one. The largest increase in prescriptions for adults was for women 20 to 44 years of age.

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