The number of adults ages 20 to 44 prescribed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medications increased about 140 percent from 2000 to 2005. This was even faster growth than the 82 percent reported for children (everyone younger than 20).
The analysis confirms earlier data from Medco Health Solutions, which last year released data that showed that ADHD medication use by adults was greater than it was for children.
The analysis of prescription data for 2.5 million patients in the United States found that the number of children under 10 taking these drugs increased almost 65 percent from 2000 to 2005.
Also, more than 6 percent of these children who were taking ADHD medications were also taking an antipsychotic drug.
Coincidentally, concern about overdoses and accidental use of ADHD drugs was a topic in a series of letters in the May 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that these stimulants drive nearly 3,100 people to emergency departments each year.