ADHD medication associated with reduced risk for motor vehicle crashes

In an American study of more than 2.3 million patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), rates of motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) were lower when they had received their medication, according to a recent article.

About 1.25 million people worldwide die annually because of MVCs.

ADHD is a prevalent neurological disorder with symptoms that include poor sustained attention, impaired impulse control and hyperactivity. ADHD affects 5 percent to 7 percent of children and adolescent and for many people it persists into adulthood.

Prior studies have suggested people with ADHD are more likely to experience MVCs. Pharmacotherapy is a first-line treatment for the condition and rates of ADHD medication prescribing have increased over the last decade in the USA and other countries.

Researchers in Stockholm, Sweden identified more than 2.3 million USA patients with ADHD between 2005 - 2014 from commercial health insurance claims and quantified emergency department visits for MVCs.

The study compared the risk of MVCs during months when patients received their medication, with the risk of MVCs during the months they did not.

The study looked at more than 2.3 million patients with ADHD (average age 32.5). 

Medication use in patients with ADHD was associated with reduced risk for car crashes in male and female patients, according to the results.

"These findings call attention to a prevalent and preventable cause of mortality and morbidity among patients with ADHD. If replicated, our results should be considered along with other potential benefits and harms associated with ADHD medication use," the article concludes.

Limitations of the study include that it cannot prove causality because it is an observational study.

Source: Science Daily . Materials provided by The JAMA Network Journals

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