Medicaid’s cost for ADHD drugs rose dramatically in the past decade, mostly driven by off-label use of antipsychotics for ADHD in youth.

More info: The authors examined a large, state Medicaid database between 1996 and 2005to determine spending on medications for 107,486 children (3 to 17 years old) diagnosed with ADHD . Spending on stimulant medications increased 157% during this period due to increases in the price of prescriptions; during this time, there was a 588% increase in antipsychotic spending due to large increases in price and quantity used. From the...

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Six percent of children in an outpatient clinic developed psychosis after taking ADHD medications.

More info: Chart review of children diagnosed with ADHD attending a child mental health clinic from January 1989 to March 1995. Diagnoses were made by 1 of 3 child psychiatrists using Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III-R, DSM-IV) criteria. Of the 98 children treated with stimulant medication, 9 children (6%) developed psychotic symptoms. From the source: “Awareness of the potential for psychotic side effects from...

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Symptoms of bipolar disorder are strikingly similar to symptoms displayed by children with ADHD taking stimulant medications

More info: Authors of this case study of a 7-year old child work at The Hyperactivity, Attention, and Learning Problems (HALP) Clinic at Children’s National Medical Center, which provides comprehensive evaluations to children and adolescents who present with school problems; the center has witnessed an increase in the number of children diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and discuss the possible link between use of ADHD medications and the...

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ADHD drugs can cause mania or psychotic symptoms in children and adolescents.

More info: The authors reviewed data from 49 children’s ADHD clinical trials for ADHD  and FDA cases report of ADHD-associated mania provided by drug manufacturers between 2000 and 2005.  In children’s clinical trials, there were 1.48 cases of psychosis/mania events per 100 person-years, with no comparable adverse events recorded in the placebo group. Out of more than 900 case reports (pediatric and adult) of symptoms of psychoses or...

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The number of ADHD office visits increased by 66% between 2000 and 2010.

More info: The authors examined physician survey data for youth 18 years and younger between 2000-2010 that was derived from IMS Health National Disease and Therapeutic Index (NDTI), a representative sample of data collection from doctor’s office visits from 4,800 physicians. Of these visits, stimulants were themost common treatment used in 96% of visits in 2000 and 87% of visits in 2010. Citation: Garfield CF, Dorsey ER, Zhu S, et al. Trends...

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ADHD drugs are one of the fastest growing classes of drugs prescribed to children.

More info: The authors examined national outpatient drug use in patients 17 years and younger from 2002–2010. During this period, the total number of pediatric prescriptions decreased, but the number of prescriptions for ADHD drugs increased 46%, making ADHD drugs one of the fastest growing classes of drugs for  youth (birth control was the only class of drugs that grew faster). In children 12 to 17 years, methylphenidate (brand name –...

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