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J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2012 Apr;22(2):139-48. doi: 10.1089/cap.2011.0028. Epub 2012 Feb 24.

Persistence of stimulants in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

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HealthCore, Inc., Wilmington, Delaware, USA.



To examine the persistence of three newly initiated stimulant preparations among Medicaid children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis.


A retrospective longitudinal claims analysis was conducted by using Medicaid analytical eXtract data of four states. The study focused on patients between 6 and 19 years of age with ADHD diagnosis and a stimulant prescription from January 2003 to December 2005. Stimulants were grouped into short-acting stimulants (SAS), intermediate-acting stimulants (IAS), and long-acting stimulants (LAS). Persistence was measured by totaling the number of days the patient remained on the index stimulant therapy from the index prescription date provided the refill gap between two consecutive stimulant claims was no more than 30 days. All the stimulant recipients were uniformly followed for 1 year (365 days). Survival time ratios (STR) were calculated by using accelerated failure time models to examine variation in index stimulant persistence for each stimulant class.


Among the 46,135 patients with ADHD continuously followed for 1 year, 8,260 were SAS users, 4,314 were IAS users, and 33,561 were LAS users. Children who received IAS medications had 4% shorter persistence (STR, 0.96 [95% confidence interval [CI], 0.93-0.98]) when compared with those who received SAS medications, whereas those who received index LAS medications had 29% longer persistence (STR, 1.29 [95% CI, 1.27-1.32]). Multivariate accelerated failure time models revealed that Blacks and Hispanics had consistently lower persistence than their counterparts. Foster care was positively associated with index stimulant persistence in the three stimulant types. Further, addition of another stimulant and other psychotropic medications significantly improved persistence of index stimulant in all three stimulant classes.


LAS had comparatively longer persistence than other stimulants. An understanding of demographic and clinical characteristics that influence treatment continuation can help improve stimulant persistence rates in ADHD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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