Adults increasingly using ADHD medications

Adults increasingly using ADHD medications
Adults increasingly using ADHD medications

Adults are increasingly turning to Attention Deficit Disorder medications, reports pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts, which surveyed prescription data between 2008 and 2012.

The PBM found that ADHD prescriptions have jumped 36% as a whole, but that prescriptions for women between the ages of 26 and 34 have skyrocketed 85%.

This uptick may not be surprising, considering the growing number of articles about increasing attention-deficit diagnoses among children and adults.

Nor would it surprise the nonprofit Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders, which recently re-upped singer/reality show coach Adam Levine to front its “Own It” adult ADHD campaign. This three-year-old awareness effort (which is in addition to Levine's spokesman work for OTC acne treatment Proactiv) focuses on the need for adults to recognize that they may not have outgrown their childhood ADHD. “If you frequently feel those symptoms as an adult, don't be bashful. Talk to your doctor,” Levine says of ADHD symptoms in a promotional piece by the group.

The correlation between advertising and prescriptions, however, is not necessarily direct. Express Scripts notes in its analysis that there “are concerns that less appropriate uses of the medication may be behind the increase in use among women. Stimulant medications are known to decrease a person's appetite.”

The company also addresses another reason that these prescriptions could be popular among young adult women—multitasking, or, per the report “women may turn to these a result of keeping up with multiple demands on their time.”

Additional adult trends show that although use has jumped among women, men tend to move away from the medications after the age of 18.

Express Scripts notes that “how and why physicians prescribe these medications for adults” requires a closer look.