Trend reversal: ADHD drugs are being prescribed less and less

Trend reversal: ADHD drugs are being prescribed less and less

Use of methylphenidate decreased by five percent
There has been a significant increase in the prescription of ADHD medications over the years, but according to the figures from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM), a trend reversal has apparently occurred since 2012. In 2014, the consumption of methylphenidate, especially known under the trade name "Ritalin", decreased again in Germany.

Medicinal products with the active ingredient methylphenidate are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), although in the meantime there has been an extremely alarming increase in prescriptions. "From 2002 to 2012, consumption had tripled", the BfArM announced. In 2009, in view of the sharp rise in the number of prescriptions, a European risk assessment procedure was carried out in which the conditions of use were redefined. Since then "drugs for the treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents may only be prescribed and used under the supervision of behavioral disorders specialists," reports the BfArM. In addition, medical and psychological aspects as well as the social and school environment should be taken into account when making the diagnosis. The new requirements led to a drop in application for the first time in 2013.

Changing application conditions have an impact
“After peaking at 1,839 kilograms in 2012, consumption in 2013 fell for the first time in 20 years by almost two percent to 1803 kilograms,” reports the BfArM. In 2014, consumption dropped again and with 1716 kilograms, around five percent less was used than in the previous year. "The renewed decline shows that we are on the right track with the changed application conditions for methylphenidate," explains the President of the BfArM, Professor Dr. Karl Broich. The drastic increase in prescriptions for ADHD medicines has become increasingly critical due to the numerous possible side effects such as loss of appetite, sleep disorders, anxiety, the risk of depression, growth disorders, palpitations and other impairments of the cardiovascular system. The significant increase in ADHD diagnoses also raised the suspicion that a diagnosis is often made too quickly here, for example in early school children who are somewhat immature. Critics also complained that other treatment options were not being exhausted enough and that Ritalin was used early on. ”

Continue to monitor the use of ADHD medication critically
Despite the renewed decline, "dealing with methylphenidate still requires special care so that patients benefit from targeted therapy and at the same time are protected against uncritical over-supply," said Professor Boich. The BfArM believes that the decline in methylphenidate consumption should be welcomed. Since the symptoms such as impulsive, rash thinking, lack of ability to concentrate and emotional instability can be a considerable burden, the BfArM believes that it must be ensured that “patients who do not take medicinal measures do not show sufficient treatment success and those of benefit from treatment with methylphenidate, which gives access to this treatment option. ”(fp)

/ span>

Photo credit: Alexander Altmann /

Author and source information

Video: ADHD 101 - Why Kids With ADHD Need Different Parenting Strategies