Prescriptions for ADHD medication, 2004-08

Paul Kjetel Soldal Lillemoen, Svein Reidar Kjosavik, Steinar Hunskår, Sabine Ruths
Tidsskrift for Den Norske Lægeforening: Tidsskrift for Praktisk Medicin, Ny Række 2012 September 4, 132 (16): 1856-60

BACKGROUND: The use of medication for ADHD has increased significantly since the 1990 s. The objective of this study was to establish the prescription rate for such drugs in Norway, and to examine which doctors prescribe them.

MATERIAL AND METHOD: Data relating to all ADHD medication collected in the period 2004-08 was obtained from the Norwegian Prescription Database and linked to the GP database.

RESULTS: The number of people who collected at least one prescription annually for ADHD medication increased over the period, while the number of new drug users remained stable. In 2008, 3.6 % of the boys and 1.2 % of the girls aged 11-15 collected their prescriptions. Of the people who collected their prescriptions for the first time in 2005, 53 % continued to collect prescriptions every year throughout the period 2006-08. In 2008, extended-release methylphenidate constituted 51 % of the prescription volume for adults and 83 % for children and young people. GPs prescribed 17 % of the total volume collected in 2004 and 48 % in 2008.

INTERPRETATION: During childhood and the teenage years there are substantial differences between the sexes when it comes to the prescription pick-up rate for ADHD medication. This may suggest that girls who suffer from ADHD go through large parts of their statutory education before they are diagnosed and receive treatment. GPs play an important role in the treatment of ADHD.

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