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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2013 Jul;128(1):70-7. doi: 10.1111/acps.12004. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Stimulant and non-stimulant attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder drug use: total population study of trends and discontinuation patterns 2006-2009.

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Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.



To explore the prevalence and discontinuation of dispensed medications for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs from 2006 to 2009.


A total population cohort of all individuals aged 6-45 years, alive and registered as residents in Sweden during any calendar year from 2006 to 2009 (N = 5 149 791) included 41 700 patients dispensed with an ADHD drug (methylphenidate, atomoxetine, amphetamine, or dexamphetamine). The dispensing prevalence was calculated for each year, stratified on sex and age. A longitudinal analysis was also performed to compare the rates of treatment discontinuation across the strata.


The dispensing prevalence increased from 2.93 per 1000 in 2006 to 6.98 in 2009 (PR = 2.38, 95% CI = 2.34-2.43). The prevalence ratio (PR) was 3.40 for adults, 22-45 years old; 2.41 for adolescents, 15-21 years old; and 1.90 for children aged 6-14. The increase was also greater in women than in men (PR = 2.92 vs. 2.19). Patients aged 15-21 were the most likely to discontinue treatment; after 3 years and 11 months, 27% of those patients were still under treatment.


From 2006 to 2009, the number of prescriptions dispensed for ADHD drugs increased substantially. The rate of treatment discontinuation in the age interval 15-21 is higher than expected considering the persistence rates of the disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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