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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
February 27, 2018

Women’s Use of ADHD Drugs Skyrockets

JAMA. 2018;319(8):762. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.0670

The number of privately insured women of child-bearing age filling prescriptions for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications increased 344% between 2003 and 2015, according to the a recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To gauge how many women are using ADHD medications, the CDC analyzed a database of outpatient prescriptions filled by privately insured women between the age of 15 and 44 years during this period. The number of women in the sample varied from 2.3 to 6.8 million during each of the years analyzed. Based on the analysis, 4% of privately insured women in this age bracket filled an ADHD prescription between 2003 and 2015. Use of these medications spiked most drastically among younger age groups, with a 700% increase among women aged 25 through 29 years and a 560% increase among women aged 30 through 34 years. Mixed amphetamine salts (Adderall) was the most commonly filled ADHD prescriptions in the analysis, followed by lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), and methylphenidate (Ritalin).

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