Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication is associated with a reduction in unintentional injuries in children and adolescents of both sexes, according to research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. To determine whether ADHD medication decreased the risk for unintentional injuries across all ages, sexes, and injury types, researchers analyzed data on the population and individual level.

Researchers used deidentified inpatient, outpatient, and filled prescription claims data from the Truven Health MarketScan Research Databases. The 1,968,146 participants had been diagnosed with ADHD or were receiving ADHD medication, and researchers tracked prescription refills per month. Emergency department visits for injuries with unintentional causes were the main outcome; 87,154 participants had at least one event. Researchers used logistic regression to compare between medicated and unmedicated months at the population and individual level.

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In the population-level analysis, ADHD medication use was associated with a lower risk for an emergency department visit for unintentional injuries in boys (odds ratio [OR]=0.85) and girls (OR=0.87). This corresponded to 37.90 fewer events per 100,000 person-months in boys and 25.15 fewer events per 100,000 person-months in girls. In the within-individual analysis of such visits, ADHD medication use was associated with a lower risk, with equal effect sizes in boys and girls (OR=0.71). This corresponded to 73.29 fewer events per 100,000 person-months in boys and 56.11 fewer events per 100,000 person-months in girls.

A lower risk was also seen for traumatic brain injuries, the OR for boys was 0.85 and 0.91 for girls, which corresponded to 4.24 fewer events per 100,000 person-months and 1.87 fewer events per 100,000 person-months, respectively. On a within-individual basis, boys experienced 10.47 fewer events per 100 000 person-months and girls experienced 6.87 fewer events per 100 000 person-months.

The study was limited by the use of data from a large sample of commercially insured patients in the United States, which may affect the generalizability of the findings. In addition, only unintentional injuries that led to an emergency department visit were included in the study, thus the data do not reflect less severe incidents.

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.

Reference

Ghirardi L, Larsson H, Chang Z, et al. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication and unintentional injuries in children and adolescents [published online July 11, 2019]. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2019.06.010