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More than Half of Teens and Adults Stop ADHD Medication Within One Year of Starting

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December 15, 2023Teens aged 18 to 19 are more likely than any other age group to stop taking prescribed medication for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a new study published in The Lancet.1 The study, which sought to determine the rate of ADHD treatment discontinuation across the lifespan, found that 61% of young adults (ages 18 to 24) discontinued treatment within a year of beginning it, almost double the rate of discontinuation in kids under 12.The retrospective, observational study analyzed population-based databases from Australia, Denmark, Hong Kong, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK, and the United States, to track patterns of medication initiation, persistence, and discontinuation in the five years after starting treatment.

Included in the study were 1,229,972 individuals (60% males, 40% females), aged four and older.The study revealed that one year after beginning treatment, medication was discontinued by:The age at which medication was most commonly discontinued was between 18 and 19 years old.The reasons teens, adults, and children stop taking medication are plentiful and varied.

According to a recent ADDitude treatment survey with more than 11,000 respondents, the top reasons cited by adults and caregivers included:This last barrier to medication continuation is particularly challenging for adults, both young and old, says William Dodson, M.D., in his article “4 Reasons Adults Give Up on ADHD Medication.”“It’s not easy for patients to find clinicians who are knowledgeable about diagnosing and treating adult ADHD,”2 Dodson explains. “Limited experience with pharmacotherapy may result in difficulty gauging a patient’s response to medication and.

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