Surge in ADHD Prescriptions Filled by Women

Attention deficit/hyperactivity drug (ADHD) medication use for women in their late 20s and early 30s jumped 700% between 2013 and 2015, which has raised concerns because there is little information about the drug’s safety before and during pregnancy. Overall, the number of women ages 15-44 who filled a prescription for an ADHD medicine increased by 354%, according to a report in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and women may be taking prescription medicine early in pregnancy before they know they are pregnant,” Coleen Boyle, PhD, director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in a statement. “Early pregnancy is a critical time for the developing baby. We need to better understand the safest ways to treat ADHD before and during pregnancy.”

There was a 560% increase among women aged 30 to 34. In 2015, the most commonly filled ADHD medicines among this group of women were Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts), Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate).


Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is an associate editor at BioCentury, which provides news and information about the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Prior to joining BioCentury in 2019, Jonathan worked for MedShadow as content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.


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