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Drug treatment of childhood ADHD levels off in UK

Review of ‘Latest trends in ADHD drug prescribing patterns in children in the UK: prevalence, incidence and persistence’

The tendency to treat childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with drugs may have reached a plateau in the UK following a steep rise in the number of prescriptions for these medicines over the past 20 years. 

ADHD
Treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder lasts longer in the UK than in Europe and the US

But, according to research published in the online journal BMJ Open, while the number of children being treated has levelled off, their treatment lasts longer than that of their European and US peers.

The researchers based their findings on an analysis of Clinical Practice Research Datalink records of children up to the age of 16 who had been prescribed at least one drug to treat ADHD between 1992 and 2013.

Treatment options

Drugs are one of several treatment options for the condition, which include parental training and behavioural therapies. 

The researchers conclude: ‘Although the prevalence and incidence of ADHD drug use in children have substantially increased during the past 2 decades, it seems that it may have reached a plateau recently.

‘Our study indicates a turning point in the patterns of ADHD drug prescribing in children in the UK.’

Beau-Lejdstrom R, Douglas I, Evans S et al (2016) Latest trends in ADHD drug prescribing patterns in children in the UK: prevalence, incidence and persistence. BMJ Open. doi 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010508

 

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