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ADHD patients' substance use risk lower in medicated periods

July 17, 2017
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Despite the abuse potential of some medications to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a study led by researchers at Indiana University has found that ADHD patients were less susceptible to substance use problems during periods when they were taking medication.

Published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the study was based on U.S. private insurance data from 2005-2014. Examining records for individuals who had periods of ADHD medication use and non-use and who had at least one emergency room visit related to alcohol or drug use, the researchers found that the risk of substance use problems was 35% lower in men and 31% lower in women during medicated periods. Stimulants were the ADHD drugs used in most cases among these individuals.

The researchers pointed out that this finding resembles those of other recent studies that have identified, for example, a lower risk of motor vehicle accidents among patients using ADHD medication.

“Together, these studies provide accumulating evidence about the possible short- and long-term benefits of ADHD medications,” said Brian M. D'Onofrio, a professor at the university's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “Overall. I think people should find these results reassuring.”

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