ADHD Medication Prescription Trends Among Women of Reproductive Age

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ADHD medication prescriptions are increasing among women aged 15 to 44.
ADHD medication prescriptions are increasing among women aged 15 to 44.

HealthDay News — Reproductive-aged women are increasingly being prescribed attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications, according to research published in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Noting that nearly half of US pregnancies are unintended and that early pregnancy is a critical period for fetal development, Kayla N. Anderson, PhD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined trends in ADHD medication prescriptions among reproductive-aged women. Data were obtained from the Truven Health MarketScan Commercial Database for 2003 to 2015 to estimate the percentage of 15 to 44 year old women with private employer-sponsored insurance who filled ADHD medication prescriptions each year.

The researchers observed a 344% increase in the percentage of reproductive-aged women who filled at least 1 prescription for ADHD medication, from 0.9% in 2003 to 4% in 2015. Mixed amphetamine salts, lisdexamfetamine, and methylphenidate were the most frequently filled medications in 2015.

"Prescribing ADHD medications to reproductive-aged women is increasingly common; additional research on ADHD medication safety during pregnancy is warranted to inform women and their health care providers about any potential risks associated with ADHD medication exposure before and during pregnancy," the authors write.


Anderson KN, Ailes EC, Danielson M, et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication prescription claims among privately insured women aged 15-44 years- United States, 2003-2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67(2):66-70.

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