Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Medication Prescription Claims by Privately Insured Women

Aged 15–44 Years — United States, 2003–2015 Increased 344%

  1. Reasonable
    Study Author(s):
    Kayla N. Anderson, PhD; Elizabeth C. Ailes, PhD; Melissa Danielson, MSPH; Jennifer N. Lind, PharmD; Sherry L. Farr, PhD; Cheryl S. Broussard, PhD; Sarah C. Tinker, PhD
    Journal Name:
    Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol 67, Issue 2: pages 66-70.
    Publication Date:
    January 19, 2018.

    What is already known about this topic?

    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication use has increased among U.S. pregnant women, and consensus about its safety during pregnancy is lacking. Given that half of U.S. pregnancies are unintended, ADHD medication use among reproductive-aged women might result in early pregnancy exposure, a critical period for fetal development.

    What is added by this report?

    The percentage of privately insured reproductive-aged women who filled a prescription for an ADHD medication increased 344% from 2003 (0.9%) to 2015 (4.0%). ADHD medication prescriptions increased across all age groups and U.S. geographic regions, and the increase was confined to stimulant medications.

    What are the implications for public health practice?

    ADHD medication prescriptions are increasingly common among privately insured, reproductive-aged women. Additional research on ADHD medication safety among this population, including safety before and during pregnancy, could help women and their health care providers make evidence-based decisions concerning the risks and benefits of pharmacologic and behavioral treatment options for common conditions, including ADHD.


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