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ADHD Prescriptions Soaring Among Women of Reproductive Age

Allison Inserro
The CDC reported recently that the percentage of privately insured reproductive-age women who filled a prescription for a medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) soared 344% from 2003 (0.9%) to 2015 (4.0%). 
The CDC reported recently that the percentage of privately insured reproductive-age women who filled a prescription for a medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) soared 344% from 2003 (0.9%) to 2015 (4.0%).

ADHD medication prescriptions increased across all ages and US geographic regions. The increase was confined to stimulant medications.

CDC shared additional research on ADHD medication safety, including before and during pregnancy, which could help women and their healthcare providers make evidence-based decisions concerning the risks and benefits of treatment.

This is the second time the CDC has warned women to be careful of what they ingest on the chance that they become pregnant without knowing it. Two years ago, they warned women of childbearing age about the risks of drinking in case they become pregnant.

The CDC used the Truven Health MarketScan Commercial Database for the period 2003-2015 to estimate the percentage of women aged 15-44 years with private employer-sponsored insurance who filled ADHD prescriptions.

The percentage of reproductive-age women who filled at least 1 ADHD medication prescription increased 344% from 2003 (0.9% of women) to 2015 (4.0% of women). In 2015, the most frequently filled medications were mixed amphetamine salts, lisdexamfetamine, and methylphenidate.

From 2003 to 2015, the largest increase (700%) in ADHD prescriptions filled occurred among women aged 25-29 years.

In 2015, the highest percentage of ADHD medication prescriptions were filled by women in the South (4.8%) and North Central (4.0%) US regions.

The largest increase from 2003 to 2015 occurred in the South (380%).

This study did not include women on Medicaid or women who paid out-of-pocket for prescriptions. The study also did not identify a woman’s pregnancy status.

Reference

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication prescription claims among privately insured women aged 15–44 Years—United States, 2003-2015. CDC website. cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6702a3.htm?s_cid=mm6702a3_e#suggestedcitation. Published January 18, 2018. Accessed January 22, 2018.

 
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