According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescriptions for stimulants used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as access to medications increased due to telemedicine options (CDC).
The biggest rise in 2020-2021
The CDC analysis discovered that there was a rise in prescription stimulant use among adult males, adolescents, and adult females with employer-sponsored insurance, between 2016 and 2021, with a notable rise observed in 2020–2021, the first year of the pandemic.
Between 2020 and 2021, the proportion of girls aged 5-64 with at least one prescription for a stimulant increased from 3.8 to 4.1 percent, while the proportion of males in the same age group increased from 4 to 4.2 percent.
The largest rise of any age group in either sex group occurred in the percentage of girls between the ages of 20 and 24 who had at least one prescription for a stimulant, which increased from 5.2 to 6.2 percent between 2020 and 2021.
However, the investigation discovered that young boys were most likely to be prescribed stimulants, with 9.9% of boys between the ages of 10 and 14 getting at least one prescription in 2021. According to the CDC, young boys have long been the group with ADHD who are most frequently diagnosed.
Effect of Telemedicine Rules
According to the CDC analysis, telemedicine rules during the pandemic era increased patients’ access to prescription stimulants. The increase in prescription stimulant fills “raises doubts about contemporary adult ADHD care” and may call for more clinical recommendations for adult ADHD diagnosis and therapy, as well as additional analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of pandemic-era policies.
As reported by the Food and Drug Administration in October, there is currently a shortage of Adderall, a medication frequently recommended for ADHD.