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Pediatrics. 1996 Dec;98(6 Pt 1):1084-8.

Increased methylphenidate usage for attention deficit disorder in the 1990s.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the increased use and the prevalence of methylphenidate (Ritalin) treatment of youth with attention deficit disorder (ADD) during the 1990s.

DESIGN:

Using time-trend findings from two large population-based data sources, three pharmaceutical databases, and one physician audit, a best-fit estimate of the usage and the usage trends for methylphenidate treatment over the half decade from 1990 through 1995 was sought.

SETTING:

Five regions in the United States (US) and the nation as a whole.

PATIENTS:

Youths on record as receiving methylphenidate for ADD.

RESULTS:

The findings from regional and national databases indicate that on average, there has been a 2.5-fold increase in the prevalence of methylphenidate treatment of youths with ADD between 1990 and 1995. In all, approximately 2.8% (or 1.5 million) of US youths aged 5 to 18 were receiving this medication in mid-1995. The increase in methylphenidate treatment for ADD appears largely related to an increased duration of treatment; more girls, adolescents, and inattentive youths on the medication; and a recently improved public image of this medication treatment.

CONCLUSION:

The database findings presented serve to correct exaggerated media claims of a 6-fold expansion of methylphenidate treatment, although they do not clarify the issue of the appropriateness of this treatment.

Comment in

PMID:
8951257
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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