The 10-year trend in drug prescriptions for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Germany

2020 | journal article; research paper. A publication of Göttingen

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​The 10-year trend in drug prescriptions for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Germany​
Grimmsmann, T. & Himmel, W. ​ (2020) 
European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology77(1) pp. 107​-115​.​ DOI: 


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Grimmsmann, Thomas; Himmel, Wolfgang 
Abstract Purpose The aim of this study was to analyse whether the global trend in drug prescriptions for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), as observed during the last years and often criticized as medicalization, have remained stable or shifted. Methods This observational study was based on a secondary analysis of data from a large German database including patients with an ADHD diagnosis between 2008 and 2018. Prescription data comprised all important ADHD drugs. Results A total of 620 practices delivered data from a total of 77,504 patients (31% of them females) with a diagnosis of AHDH. Nearly 38% (29,396/77,504) of all patients received, at least, one prescription for an ADHS medicine between 2008 and 2018. The number of patients receiving a drug steadily increased annually until 2012 and then slowly fell, but unevenly distributed across the age groups. While the number of younger patients ( ≤ 16 years) receiving a prescription fell by 24% and the defined daily doses (DDDs) remained stable, the number of patients between 17 and 24 years receiving a prescription increased by 113% and the DDDs by 150%. Respectively, the number of older adults (≥ 25 years) with a prescription increased by 355% and the DDDs by 515%. Nearly one-third of older adults received an ADHD medicine only once. Conclusion The ever-increasing prescription of ADHD medicines stopped some years ago for children. ADHS and its pharmacological management are increasingly observed among older adolescents and adults, with a different pattern of drug persistence compared with children.
Issue Date
European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 
Institut für Allgemeinmedizin 
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Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (1018)



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