Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: treatment discontinuation in adolescents and young adults

Suzanne McCarthy, Philip Asherson, David Coghill, Chris Hollis, Macey Murray, Laura Potts, Kapil Sayal, Ruwan de Soysa, Eric Taylor, Tim Williams, Ian C. K. Wong

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    137 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background

    Symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are known to persist into adulthood in the majority of cases.

    Aims

    To determine the prevalence of methylprienidate, dexamfetamine and atomoxetine prescribing and treatment discontinuation in adolescents and young adults.

    Method

    A descriptive cohort study using the UK General Practice Research Database included patients aged 15-21 years from 1999 to 2006 with a prescription for a study drug.

    Results

    Prevalence of prescribing averaged across all ages increased 6.23-fold over the study period. overall, prevalence decreased with age: in 2006, prevalence in males dropped 95% from 12.77 per 1000 in 15-year-olds to 0.64 per 1000 in 21-year-olds. A longitudinal analysis of a cohort of 44 patients aged 15 years in 1999 demonstrated that no patient received treatment after the age of 21 years.

    Conclusions

    The prevalence of prescribing by general practitioners to patients with ADHD drops significantly from age 15 to age 21 years. The fall in prescribing is greater than the reported age-related decrease in symptoms, raising the possibility that treatment is prematurely discontinued in some Young adults in whom symptoms persist.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)273-277
    Number of pages5
    JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
    Volume194
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

    Keywords

    • PRACTICE RESEARCH DATABASE
    • DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER
    • FOLLOW-UP
    • PREVALENCE
    • CHILDREN
    • UK
    • METAANALYSIS
    • ADHD
    • MTA

    Cite this

    McCarthy, S., Asherson, P., Coghill, D., Hollis, C., Murray, M., Potts, L., Sayal, K., de Soysa, R., Taylor, E., Williams, T., & Wong, I. C. K. (2009). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: treatment discontinuation in adolescents and young adults. British Journal of Psychiatry, 194(3), 273-277. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.107.045245