Adolescents With ADHD Frequently Skip Doses of Medication

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92% of adolescents used methylphenidate as a pharmacologic treatment for ADHD.
92% of adolescents used methylphenidate as a pharmacologic treatment for ADHD.

Most adolescents taking medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report that they are indifferent toward their medication and frequently skip doses, according to data published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Richelle Kosse, MSc, of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Clinical Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study among adolescents who filled at least 2 prescriptions for ADHD medication within a 1-year period. A total of 181 adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age completed an online questionnaire that included questions on sociodemographics, health status, illness perceptions, medication adherence, and medication beliefs.

Results from the questionnaire showed that 92% of adolescents used methylphenidate as a pharmacologic treatment for ADHD. Additionally, 51% of respondents experienced side effects, such as decreased appetite and sleep problems.

The researchers found that 83% of the study participants had an indifferent attitude toward their ADHD medication, and 61% reported to be nonadherent according to the Medication Adherence Report Scale. Furthermore, 48.1% of participants stated that they occasionally deviate from the prescribed dosing regimen, and 60.2% reported that they sometimes discontinue medication over the weekend or on holidays.

The authors note that ADHD treatment could be improved by combining pharmacologic treatment with psychological and behavioral treatments. “Furthermore, monitoring and discussing the experiences of patients with their ADHD medication might be useful to optimize the treatment for adolescents with ADHD,” they added.

Reference

Kosse RC, Bouvy ML, Philbert D, de Vries TW, Koster ES. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication use in adolescents: the patient's perspective [published online September 9, 2017]. J Adolescent Health. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.05.027

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