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Treatment planning for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: treatment utilization and family preferences

Authors Brinkman W, Epstein J

Published 17 January 2011 Volume 2011:5 Pages 45—56

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S10647

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


William B Brinkman, Jeffery N Epstein
Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common condition that often results in child and family functional impairments. Although there are evidence-based treatment modalities available, implementation of and persistence with treatment plans vary with patients. Family preferences also vary and may contribute to variability in treatment utilization.
Objective: The objective of this study is to describe the evidence-based treatments available for ADHD, identify patterns of use for each modality, and examine patient and parent treatment preferences.
Method: Literature review.
Results: Treatment options differ on benefits and risks/costs. Therefore, treatment decisions are preference sensitive and depend on how an informed patient/parent values the tradeoffs between options. Literature on patient and parent ADHD treatment preferences is based on quantitative research assessing the construct of treatment acceptability and qualitative and quantitative research that assesses preferences from a broader perspective. After a child is diagnosed with ADHD, a variety of factors influence the initial selection of treatment modalities that are utilized. Initial parent and child preferences are shaped by their beliefs about the nature of the child's problems and by information (and misinformation) received from a variety of sources, including social networks, the media, and health care providers. Subsequently, preferences become further informed by personal experience with various treatment modalities. Over time, treatment plans are revisited and revised as families work with their health care team to establish a treatment plan that helps their child achieve goals while minimizing harms and costs.
Conclusions: Studies have not been able to determine the extent to which utilization rates are consistent with the underlying distribution of informed patient/parent treatment preferences. There are challenges to ensure that patient/parent preferences are consistently well informed, elicited, and discussed in the treatment planning process. Interventions are needed to promote such interactions.

Keywords: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, adherence, preferences, physician–patient/parent communication, collaborative/shared decision making

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