gms | German Medical Science

11. Jahrestagung 2004 der GAA

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie

30.09. bis 01.10.2004, Jena

Monitoring Drug Prescriptions for Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Treatment Incidence, Prevalence and Regional Characteristics

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker K. Janhsen - Bremen University, Centre for Social Policy Research, Drug Utilization Research Unit
  • E. Scharnetzky - Bremen University, Centre for Social Policy Research, Drug Utilization Research Unit
  • C. Schicktanz - Bremen University, Centre for Social Policy Research, Drug Utilization Research Unit
  • G. Glaeske - Bremen University, Centre for Social Policy Research, Drug Utilization Research Unit

Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelanwendungsforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie (GAA) e.V.. 11. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Arzneimittelforschung und Arzneimittelepidemiologie (GAA) e.V.. Jena, 30.09.-01.10.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04gaa03

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Veröffentlicht: 30. September 2004

© 2004 Janhsen et al.
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Methylphenidate (MPH) prescriptions for ADHD rose from 1 Mio DDD in 1993 to 16.1 Mio DDD in 2002 - although MPH is a psychotropic substance with strong effects and still not sufficiently investigated. Increasing prescriptions led to controversial discussions about treatment quality.

Aim of the Study

Aim of the study is to present prescription incidences and prevalences considering different drugs including individually prepared and imported formulations, regional variations, and specialty of prescribing physicians (SPP).

A special task is to investigate the cooperation with child and adolescent psychiatrists (CAPs) in the first treatment year and to illuminate regional distributions of CAPs and parents´ organizations (POs) as potential cause of regional prescription differences.

Material and Method

A statutory health insurance company's (Gmuender ErsatzKasse GEK) person-specific but non-identifying prescription data was analysed. More than 5000 insured persons who received at least one prescription for ADHD between January 2000 and December 2002 were selected.

Imported and individually prepared formulations were included. Because of high methodological requirements these formulations are not regularly considered in routine data analyses.

POs and their position regarding drug treatment were identified by Internet search among German websites.


More than 90 % of all prescribed defined daily doses (DDDs) are for MPH, 17 % of MPH DDDs were imported sustained-release preparations. Individually prepared AMPH formulations are relevant, too. Fenetyllin and pemoline are less important.

The analyses showed major regional differences in ADHD treatment and a wide spectrum of SPPs.

More than 70 % of the newly treated patients did not receive any prescription from a CAP in the first year.

Regions with high numbers of drug therapy recommending or supporting POs showed high drug treatment incidences.


The results are conspiciuous and point to deficits in therapy and medical care. Further research, monitoring and intervention is needed to identify and avoid undertreatment, mistreatment and overtreatment.

Conflict of interest: The study was funded by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Security and supported by the Gmuender ErsatzKasse.