Study highlights multiple factors of ADHD medication use

June 8, 2016
Children with ADHD find it more difficult to focus and to complete their schoolwork. Credit: public domain image

Youth who take Ritalin, Adderall or other stimulant medications for ADHD over an extended period of time early in life are no more at risk for substance abuse in later adolescence than teens without ADHD, according to a University of Michigan study.

The findings also show that teens who start using stimulant medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder for a short time later in adolescence—during middle or high school—are at high risk of substance use..

The U-M research is believed to be the first national study to compare early-use and longer-duration stimulant medication therapy with nonstimulant therapy for ADHD.

A large sample size of also meant researchers could separate doctor-prescribed ADHD medication use by gender. The results show no in the overall associations between stimulant medication therapy for ADHD and risk of substance use, said Sean Esteban McCabe, a research professor at the U-M Institute for Research on Women and Gender.

More than 40,000 individuals from 10 cohorts nationwide between 2005 to 2014, answered questions about ADHD medication use and recent substance use as part of the Monitoring the Future study.

Among the findings:

Nearly one in eight high school seniors in the U.S. have used stimulant or nonstimulant medication therapy for ADHD.

Males are more likely to use stimulant medication therapy for ADHD, while no gender differences were found for nonstimulant .

Given that higher substance-use behaviors are associated with later initiation of stimulant medications for ADHD during adolescence, the researchers recommend monitoring this later initiation subgroup carefully for pre-existing risk factors or the onset of substance use behaviors.

Explore further: Risk of drug abuse lower for teens prescribed stimulant medications early in life

More information: Sean Esteban McCabe et al. Age of Onset, Duration, and Type of Medication Therapy for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Substance Use During Adolescence: A Multi-Cohort National Study, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2016.03.011

Related Stories

Children with ADHD prone to substance use disorders

July 1, 2014

(HealthDay)—Screening for substance use disorders (SUDs) and the safe use of stimulant medications are important issues in the care of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to research ...

ADHD meds may be a prescription for bullying

November 20, 2015

Kids and teens who take medications like Ritalin to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are twice as likely to be physically or emotionally bullied by peers than those who don't have ADHD, a new University of Michigan ...

ADHD medication can slow growth in teenage boys, study finds

January 21, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Adolescent boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to be shorter and slimmer than their same-age peers, according to a new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia ...

ADHD or just immature?

March 10, 2016

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is typically diagnosed in childhood and manifests as an inability to sustain attention and control activity levels and impulse control. Some reports have indicated a prevalence ...

Recommended for you

Children with ADHD often live in chaotic households

March 9, 2017

Researchers often observe inadequate parenting, a negative emotional climate and household chaos in families of children with ADHD. A research group at Goethe University Frankfurt and the universities of Bremen, Heidelberg, ...

Could the 'Mediterranean' diet help prevent ADHD?

January 30, 2017

(HealthDay)—Kids who follow a Mediterranean diet—high in fruits, vegetables and "good" fats—may be less likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a small study suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.