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Trend, characteristics, and pharmacotherapy of adults diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a nationwide survey in Taiwan

Authors Cheng YS, Shyu YC, Lee SY, Yuan SS, Yang CJ, Yang KC, Lee TL, Wang LJ

Received 2 November 2016

Accepted for publication 3 February 2017

Published 1 March 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 643—651


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Yu-Shian Cheng,1,2 Yu-Chiau Shyu,3,4 Sheng-Yu Lee,5,6 Shin-Sheng Yuan,7 Chun-Ju Yang,8 Kang-Chung Yang,8,9 Tung-Liang Lee,10 Liang-Jen Wang1

1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, 2Department of Psychiatry, Tsyr-Huey Mental Hospital, Kaohsiung Jen-Ai’s Home, Kaohsiung, 3Community Medicine Research Center, Keelung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Keelung, 4Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei, 5Department of Psychiatry, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Kaohsiung, 6Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Hospital, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, 7Institute of Statistical Science, Academia Sinica, 8Institute of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, 9Genome and Systems Biology Degree Program, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan; 10Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

Objective: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults may result in functional impairment warranting clinical interventions. However, few studies have investigated the diagnosis and treatment rates of adult ADHD in non-Caucasian ethnic groups. This study used nationwide population-based data to investigate the rate of diagnosis, associated characteristics, and pharmacological treatment for adult ADHD in Taiwan.
Methods: Adults (age ≥18 years) newly diagnosed with ADHD (n=5,397) between January 2000 and December 2011 were enrolled from the National Health Insurance database in Taiwan. All patients were monitored until December 31, 2011. Patients who received treatment with immediate-release methylphenidate (IR-MPH), osmotic release oral system-methylphenidate (OROS-MPH), and atomoxetine (ATX) were analyzed.
Results: The cumulative prevalence of adult ADHD was 0.028%, and the incidence increased 10.9-fold from 2000 to 2011. The male to female ratio was 1.16, and 74.9% of the patients had the inattentive type. Overall, 55% of the patients received drug therapy for ADHD, and the average treatment duration was 478.3 days. Of the total patients, 50.4%, 13.3%, and 1.7% were prescribed with IR-MPH, OROS-MPH, and ATX, for a mean duration of 453.9, 327.7, and 161.4 days, respectively.
Conclusion: This population-based study showed an increasing trend in the diagnosis rate of adult ADHD; however, this rate is still low compared with Western countries. Approximately 45% of the adult patients with ADHD never received medication for their ADHD. Continuous efforts are needed to increase public awareness of adult ADHD.

Keywords: ADHD, gender difference, epidemiology, drug adherence, comorbidity, non-Caucasian

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