Common for Kids and Parents to Both Take ADHD Drugs

Study finds that parents of children on ADHD drugs were nine times more likely than other parents to use the medications, as well.

Monday April 30th - 4:37pm

In a major study of ADHD medication use, researchers found that parents of children taking ADHD drugs were nine times more likely than other parents to use the drugs, as well. They also found that, if at least one parent and child were taking an ADHD medication, a second child was more likely to do so.

The medical community has long known that ADHD runs in families, but this study, which looked at prescription claims filed in 2005, has uncovered some surprising new patterns in diagnoses and treatment of parents and children. In families that included both a parent and child who began taking ADHD medication in the last year, more than half the time, the parent began treatment first. "Usually," observed Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D., associate director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders, "it's the kid first, then the parent."

In recent years, it's also become much more common for women to be examined for attention deficit problems, said Andrew Adesman, M.D., chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Schneider Children's Hospital in New Hyde Park. In the households studied, 60 percent of the time, it was the mother who began taking ADHD medications, not the father.

Dr. Brown concluded, "When people have the opportunity to see how much these medications improve a person's function and they see it every day in their own family, they're more likely to consider using these medicines."

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