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The growth of adults using ADHD drugs is outpacing children.
While attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, is commonly associated with children, more and more adults are using ADHD medications to help them tame their overactive mind. In an analysis that looked at prescription rates from 2.5 million patients, the number of adults between the ages of 20 and 44 using ADHD medications has increased almost one and a half times since the year 2000. In comparison, use of these medications in children under the age of 20 has only increased by 82 percent. In both cases, the majority of the growth in ADHD medication use was seen in women and girls. Dr. Robert Epstein, chief medical officer of Medco Health Solutions, Inc, the company that conducted the study, suggests that the disparity in ADHD medication use may be partly spurred by the growing acceptance that ADHD can impair adults as well as children. However, he also cautions patients to consider the potentially dangerous cardiovascular side effects of these drugs. "The drop in medication use among [young children] in the past year may indicate that physicians and parents are indeed taking these risks seriously." The FDA is currently reviewing the safety of ADHD stimulant medications.
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