Medical treatment of children and youths with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a Norwegian Prescription Registry Based Study

Jan Norum, Aina Iren Olsen, Frank Ivar Nohr, Anca Heyd, Arpad Totth
Global Journal of Health Science 2014, 6 (4): 155-62

OBJECTIVES: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a lifelong neurological condition with a profound effect on quality of life. Prescription databases may document pattern of use. In this study we aimed to explore the use in Norway employing such a database.

METHODS: All prescriptions on drugs for the treatment of ADHD between 2004 and 2011, as registered in the Norwegian Prescription Database (NPD) were analyzed. The following drugs were included: Amphetamine, dexamphetamine, methylphenidate and atomoxetine. In-hospital drug administration was excluded. Numbers of users per 1,000 inhabitants were calculated according to gender, age and residence. A sub-analysis compared users born in January-June with those born in July-December. Drug costs were calculated and converted into Euros (€ 1 = 7.4540).

RESULTS: Drugs for the treatment of ADHD was significantly more often prescribed in northern Norway than in any other Norwegian health region (P < 0.001). Within the northern region, Nordland County was the "culprit" (P < 0.02). Compared to Norwegian figures, significantly more females (aged 10-19 years) were treated in northern Norway [male/female ratios 3:1 and 2.2:1 (P < 0.01)] and especially in Nordland County (ratio 2.1:1). The subanalysis did not indicate a northern overtreatment of those being a younger group in their grade. The annual drug cost per user in Norway was € 919.

CONCLUSIONS: The prescription rate was significantly higher in northern Norway and Nordland County was the culprit. A prescription database may be a tool for monitoring the national use of these drugs.

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