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Type: Journal article
Title: Use of medication by young people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Author: Sawyer, M.
Rey, J.
Graetz, B.
Clark, J.
Baghurst, P.
Citation: Medical Journal of Australia, 2002; 177(1):21-25
Publisher: Australasian Med Publ Co Ltd
Issue Date: 2002
ISSN: 0025-729X
Statement of
Michael G. Sawyer, Joseph M. Rey, Brian W. Graetz, Jennifer J. Clark and Peter A. Baghurst
Abstract: <h4>Objectives</h4>To examine the prevalence of psychotropic medication use by children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and children without ADHD. To identify factors associated with stimulant use by children in the community.<h4>Design</h4>A representative, multistage probability sample of Australian households was conducted in 1998. Parents completed questionnaires assessing children's mental health problems and health-related quality of life. They also completed a structured interview to identify children's psychiatric disorders and their use of medications during the previous six months.<h4>Participants</h4>Parent or main caregiver of 3597 children aged 6-17 years.<h4>Main outcome measures</h4>Rates of use of stimulants (dexamphetamine and methylphenidate), antidepressants and clonidine by children.<h4>Results</h4>Overall, 1.8% of children (95% CI, 1.5%-2.3%) were receiving stimulant medication. Of those with ADHD, 12.6% (95% CI, 9.8%-16.1%) were being treated with stimulants, 2.3% (95% CI, 1.3%-4.3%) with antidepressants, and 1.9% (95% CI, 1.0%-3.7%) with clonidine. Among children without ADHD, 0.5% (95% CI, 0.3%-0.8%) were receiving stimulant medication. This represented 22.9% (95% CI, 14.6%-34.0%) of all the children who were receiving stimulants. Variables significantly associated with stimulant use were being male, having ADHD, attending a paediatrician, and having higher scores on the Aggressive Behaviour and Attention Problems scales on the Child Behaviour Checklist.<h4>Conclusions</h4>About 13% of Australian children with ADHD, and a substantial number of children without ADHD, are taking stimulants. The question of whether Australian children are being undertreated or overtreated with stimulant medication depends on the criteria used to assess the appropriateness of stimulant use. Additional information is needed to clarify when stimulants should be used to treat ADHD.
Keywords: Humans
Substance-Related Disorders
Central Nervous System Stimulants
Psychotropic Drugs
Antidepressive Agents
Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
Interviews as Topic
Surveys and Questionnaires
Description: The document attached has been archived with permission from the editor of the Medical Journal of Australia (26 April 2007). An external link to the publisher’s copy is included
DOI: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2002.tb04624.x
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Paediatrics publications

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