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Cost Eff Resour Alloc. 2005 Jun 9;3:5.

A review of the economic burden of ADHD.

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  • 1The MEDTAP Institute at UBC, 7101 Wisconsin Ave, Suite 600, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.


Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder that is associated with broad functional impairment among both children and adults. The purpose of this paper is to review and summarize available literature on the economic costs of ADHD, as well as potential economic benefits of treating this condition. A literature search was performed using MEDLINE to identify all published articles on the economic implications of ADHD, and authors were contacted to locate conference abstracts and articles in press that were not yet indexed. In total, 22 relevant items were located including published original studies, economic review articles, conference presentations, and reports available on the Internet. All costs were updated and presented in terms of year 2004 US dollars. A growing body of literature, primarily published in the United States, has demonstrated that ADHD places a substantial economic burden on patients, families, and third-party payers. Results of the medical cost studies consistently indicated that children with ADHD had higher annual medical costs than either matched controls (difference ranged from 503 dollars to 1,343 dollars) or non-matched controls (difference ranged from 207 dollars to 1,560 dollars) without ADHD. Two studies of adult samples found similar results, with significantly higher annual medical costs among adults with ADHD (ranging from 4,929 dollars to 5,651 dollars) than among matched controls (ranging from 1,473 dollars to 2,771 dollars). A limited number of studies have examined other economic implications of ADHD including costs to families; costs of criminality among individuals with ADHD; costs related to common psychiatric and medical comorbidities of ADHD; indirect costs associated with work loss among adults with ADHD; and costs of accidents among individuals with ADHD. Treatment cost-effectiveness studies have primarily focused on methylphenidate, which is a cost-effective treatment option with cost-effectiveness ratios ranging from 15,509 dollars to 27,766 dollars per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained. As new treatments are introduced it will be important to evaluate their cost-effectiveness to provide an indication of their potential value to clinicians, patients, families, and third-party payers.

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