Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of childhood. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Health & Nutrition Survey (NHANES), about 9% of children in the U.S. meet criteria for ADHD with similar numbers reported in other countries. Once believed to only affect children, ADHD is now known to persist into adolescence and adulthood in the majority of cases. Approximately 4-5% of adults worldwide are affected with ADHD.
While effective in the treatment of ADHD, stimulant medications have been shown in multiple studies to have high potential for abuse and addiction and are scheduled as Class II controlled substances by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other similar agencies outside the U.S.
Research shows that behavioral therapy is an important part of treatment for children with ADHD. ADHD affects not only a child’s ability to pay attention or sit still at school, it also affects relationships with family, friends/peers, and how well they do in their classes. Behavioral therapy is a treatment option that can help reduce these problems for children and should be started as soon as a diagnosis is made.
Medications can affect children differently, where one child may respond well to one medication, but not to another. When determining the best treatment, a doctor might try different medications and doses, so it is important for parents to work with their child’s doctor to find the medication that works best for their child.
Market Share of Stimulant Medications
In 2019, over 20 million prescriptions were filled in the U.S. for immediate release (IR) stimulants such as Adderall® and Dexedrine®, which represent the fastest growing class of prescribed ADHD drugs.