Wednesday, September 14, 2005

ADHD Drug Use Among Adults Double in 4 Years

ADHD Drug Use Among Adults Doubles in 4 Years
Associated PressSeptember 15, 2005; Page D2
Wall Street Journal

Use of prescription drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is rising at a faster rate among adults than children for the first time, research shows.
Between 2000 and 2004, use of drugs that help keep ADHD patients focused doubled among adults ages 20 to 44, but rose only 56% among children, according to data compiled by Medco Health Solutions Inc., a Franklin Lakes, N.J., pharmacy-benefit manager.
Medco's study, to be released today, shows use rose 113% among women 20 years old to 44 years old and 104% among women 45 to 64, both far more than among men. Meanwhile, spending on the medicines quadrupled.
Experts say such reasons for the surge include better drugs and advertising to parents of children diagnosed with ADHD realizing they have the same symptoms.
Awareness of the disorder is increasing. ADHD symptoms include impulsivity, trouble concentrating, disorganization, procrastination and hyperactivity, although fewer females are hyperactive. People with ADHD tend to be creative, tenacious, energetic and sensitive, said Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of a book about ADHD, "Delivered from Distraction."
"We're seeing about 1% of adults being treated," but four times as many are estimated to have ADHD, said Dr. Robert Epstein, Medco's chief medical officer.
Eight percent of children ages 4 to 17, or about 4.4 million, are diagnosed with ADHD, and just above half take medication, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 1.5 million people in the U.S. 20 years and older are using the drugs, Medco said.
Those figures dispel earlier beliefs that children "grow out of the disorder," said Dr. Patricia Quinn, a developmental pediatrician at the National Center for Gender Issues and ADHD, and an adviser to Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, an advocacy group.
Spending on ADHD medicines has surged with the increasing popularity of brand-name versions that last all day, limiting ups and downs of symptoms.
Revenue skyrocketed to $3.1 billion in 2004 from $759 million in 2000, according to health-care data provider IMS Health Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Associated Press


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