Globally, use of stimulant medications to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders has changed significantly over the past decade.
Scandinavian researchers used an innovative research method to study changes in treatment approaches for adolescents and children.
They discovered the use of stimulant medications has increased by five-fold over the past several years.
As published in Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology (JCAP), researchers studied more than 850,000 children born in Denmark between 1990 and 2001.
Søren Dalsgaard, MD, PhD, Helena Skyt Nielsen, PhD, and Marianne Simonsen, PhD, found that 61 percent of children with ADHD, 16 percent of children with ASD, and 3 percent of those with other psychiatric disorders were treated with one or more medications.
They found that methylphenidate, dexamphetamine, and atomoxetine were typically prescribed for ADHD.
The review shows a significant increases in the prescription rates of these medications during the years 2003 to 2010.
“This study utilizes a population-based national cohort of children and adolescents, and assesses stimulant treatment in children and adolescents with ASD,” says Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, Editor-in-Chief of JCAP, and President, Child Mind Institute, New York, NY.
“This is the largest and first prospective study to quantify the change in the use of treatment with ADHD medications over time.”