A new study found that ADHD children are less likely to take their medication and go without treatment 40% of the time.
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute led the research. It was published in Archives of Disease in ChildhoodThis graph shows the average medication coverage. It also shows the average time spent on drugs between the first prescription and the last one.
Professor Daryl Efron, MCRI Associate and lead author, stated that medication use was initially high for the first few months. However, it gradually decreased over time, and then increased again after five to six years.
Children from families with social disadvantage were also less likely to take ADHD medication consistently.
He said, “We know that low socioeconomic families may find it more difficult than others to attend medical appointments. Factors such as missed work, transport difficulties, and appointment costs all have potential to contribute.”
The study revealed that the average medication coverage fell to 54% after 90-days.
Associate Professor Efron explained that until now, little was known about children with ADHD’s ability to adhere to medication for a longer time.
He said that around 90% of ADHD children respond well to at least one stimulant ADHD medication.
ADHD is a chronic condition. Therefore, it is important that treatment be continued for many years. ADHD medication compliance is often difficult.
Study of 3,537 children examined all ADHD prescriptions redeemed by participants in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.
The study revealed that only 166 children (3.6%) had ever received a prescription for ADHD medication. ADHD medication was four times more common in boys than it was for girls.
Associate Professor Efron stated that the findings have important clinical implications.
ADHD Australia reports that around one in 20 children in Australia suffer from ADHD.
Associate Professor Efron stated that it was important to engage children who have stopped taking medication and their families in order to ensure that they can access appropriate interventions. This may include medication alongside other supports such as education and mental health.
Materials provided by Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. Note: Content may be edited to improve style and length.