+ Site Statistics
+ Search Articles
+ PDF Full Text Service
How our service works
Request PDF Full Text
+ Follow Us
Follow on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Follow on LinkedIn
+ Subscribe to Site Feeds
Most Shared
PDF Full Text
+ Translate
+ Recently Requested

Five-fold increase in national prevalence rates of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other psychiatric disorders: a Danish register-based study



Five-fold increase in national prevalence rates of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medications for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other psychiatric disorders: a Danish register-based study



Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 23(7): 432-439



The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence and time trends in prescriptions of methylphenidate, dexamphetamine, and atomoxetine in children and adolescents, within three diagnostic groups: 1) autism spectrum disorder (ASD), 2) attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and 3) other psychiatric disorders. Data from six different national registers were used and merged to identify a cohort of all children and adolescents born in Denmark between 1990 and 2001 (n=852,711). Sociodemographic covariates on cohort members and their parents and lifetime prescriptions of methylphenidate, dexamphetamine, and atomoxetine were extracted from the registers. Prescriptions were also stratified by duration (<6 months. vs.≥ 6 months). Sixteen percent of 9698 children and adolescents with ASD (n=1577), 61% of 11,553 children and adolescents with ADHD (n=7021) and 3% of 48,468 children and adolescents with other psychiatric disorders (n=1537) were treated with one or more ADHD medications. There was a significant increase in prescription rates of these medications for all three groups. From 2003 to 2010, youth 6-13 years of age with ASD, ADHD, and other psychiatric disorders had 4.7-fold (4.4-4.9), 6.3-fold (6.0-6.4), and 5.5-fold (5.0-5.9) increases, respectively, in prescription rates of ADHD medications. This is the largest study to date assessing stimulant treatment in children and adolescents with ASD, and is the first prospective study quantifying the change over time in the prevalence of treatment with ADHD medications in a population-based national cohort of children and adolescents with ASD. The prevalence of stimulant treatment in youth with ASD of 16% is consistent with earlier studies. The past decade has witnessed a clear and progressive increase in the prescription rates of medications typically used to treat ADHD in children and adolescents in Denmark. This increase is not limited to only those with ADHD, but includes others with neuropsychiatric disorders, including ASD. The risks and benefits of this practice await further study.

Please choose payment method:






(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 053256246

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24015896

DOI: 10.1089/cap.2012.0111


Related references

Cardiovascular considerations of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications: a report of the European Network on Hyperactivity Disorders work group, European Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Guidelines Group on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug safety meeting. Cardiology in the Young 22(1): 63-70, 2012

Prevalence of overweight in children and adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders: a chart review. Bmc Pediatrics 5: 48, 2005

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: symptom or syndrome?. Journal of Attention Disorders 13(2): 117-126, 2009

Prevalence and correlates of psychotropic medication use in adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder with and without caregiver-reported attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 21(6): 571-579, 2011

The prevalence of symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Psychiatry Research 240: 1-3, 2016

Delayed autism spectrum disorder recognition in children and adolescents previously diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Autism 23(4): 1065-1072, 2019

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder in children born to mothers with thyroid dysfunction: a Danish nationwide cohort study. Bjog 121(11): 1365-1374, 2014

Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity among children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity-disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual disability. Research in Developmental Disabilities 70: 175-184, 2017

No evidence for predictors of response to atomoxetine treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 25(4): 372-375, 2015

Motor and gestural performance in children with autism spectrum disorders, developmental coordination disorder, and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society 13(2): 246-256, 2007

The Prevalence of Internet Addiction Among a Japanese Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic Sample With Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Cross-Sectional Study. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 47(7): 2217-2224, 2017

How often do children meet ICD-10/DSM-IV criteria of attention deficit-/hyperactivity disorder and hyperkinetic disorder? Parent-based prevalence rates in a national sample--results of the BELLA study. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 17(Suppl. 1): 59-70, 2008

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in adult psychiatry. A 20-year register study. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry 67(5): 344-350, 2013

Preliminary examination of the reliability and concurrent validity of the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder self-report scale v1.1 symptom checklist to rate symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in adolescents. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 22(3): 238-244, 2012

Therapy access among children with autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, and attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder: a population-based study. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 59(12): 1291-1298, 2017