The use of psycho-stimulant drugs to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has more than tripled worldwide since 1993, challenging widespread assumptions that this neuro-developmental disorder is concentrated in the United States, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley.
While the United States, Canada and Australia showed higher-than-expected rates of ADHD medication use between 1993 and 2003, a country-by-country analysis showed increases in ADHD drug consumption in countries including France, Sweden, Korea and Japan.
The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, examined ADHD medication use among 5- to 19-year-olds in countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose members are largely North American, European and Northeast Asian nations.
According to its authors, the findings, which reflect global trends, make a strong case for further studies on the long-term benefits of ADHD medications, as well as for an international exchange of ADHD data to better determine effective monitoring and treatment of this disorder.
Roughly one in 25 children and adolescents in the United States is taking medication for ADHD, said lead author Richard Scheffler, Distinguished Professor of Health Economics & Public Policy at UC Berkeley and director of the campus’s Nicholas C. Petris Center on Health Care Markets and Consumer Welfare.
“Given the global diffusion of ADHD medications, as well as the prevalence of this condition, ADHD could become the leading childhood disorder treated with medications across the globe,” Scheffler said. “We can expect that the already burgeoning global costs for medication treatment for ADHD will rise even more sharply over the next decade.”
ADHD is characterized by poor concentration, distractibility, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and other symptoms that are age-inappropriate. If untreated, it can result in learning difficulties, volatile peer relationships and poor organizational skills.
Although the United States undeniably leads the world in ADHD medication spending ($2.4 billion in 2003), growth trends indicate that other countries are following in its tracks, according to the study. For example, global spending on ADHD medications increased nine-fold among OECD countries during the time period studied. This increase is largely due to the advent and availability of more costly and long-acting medications such as Concerta, Strattera and Adderral XR, the study says.
“ADHD medication treatment globally is becoming similar to that seen in the United States,” said Dr. Peter Levine, a pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek and co-author of the study. “But the use of medications outside the United States is still primarily the less expensive, short-acting stimulant medications. Costs are likely to rise globally as long-acting medications, which offer easier use and result in better compliance, become more prevalent outside the U.S.”
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Sub-editorADHD :: ADHD drugs use growing worldwide
by Sub-editor ( Author at Spirit India )
Posted on March 7th, 2007 at 11:07 am.
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