Treatment patterns among adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in the United States: a retrospective claims study

Current Medical Research and Opinion, 2021


To assess treatment patterns in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and associated healthcare costs in a real-world US setting.


Claims data from the IBM MarketScan Commercial Subset (Q1/2014-Q4/2018) was used to identify adults diagnosed with ADHD who newly initiated on ADHD treatment (index date). Treatment sequences were defined using an algorithm; for each sequence, the regimen comprised all ADHD-related agents observed within 30 d of the first agent during the 12-month study period. Treatment changes included discontinuation, switch, add-on, and drop. Treatment characteristics were described for the first treatment regimen observed. Total adjusted annual healthcare costs were compared between patients with no treatment change and patients with 1, 2, and ≥3 treatment changes.


Among 122,881 adults with ADHD, the majority initiated a stimulant (95.1%) as their first treatment regimen observed; 9.3% of patients initiated combination therapy of ≥2 ADHD-related agents, and 34.9% of patients had psychotherapy. After an average first treatment regimen duration of 7.1 months, 50.2% of patients experienced a treatment change (22.5% discontinued, 17.5% switched, 5.3% had an add-on, and 4.6% had a treatment drop). Among those who discontinued, 44.8% did so within the first month of initiation. Mean annual healthcare costs were higher among patients with at least 1 treatment change compared to those with no treatment changes; excess costs increased with each additional treatment change.


Treatment changes were commonly observed and were associated with excess healthcare cost, emphasizing the unmet treatment needs of adults with ADHD in the US.

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Schein J, Childress A, Adams J, Cloutier M, Gagnon-Sanschagrin P,  Maitland J, Bungay R, Guérin A, Lefebvre P