Report: More Adults Using ADHD Medication Than Kids In U.S.

| by Michael Allen

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is usually attributed to hyperactive children who are often medicated in the U.S.

However, American adults have surpassed kids in treatment medication for ADHD, according to a report by Shire Plc, a drug company that manufactures Vyvanse, which is used to treat ADHD.

Bloomberg notes, "Adults in the U.S. have overtaken children in taking medication for the condition and accounted for 53 percent of the industrywide 63 million prescriptions for ADHD drugs last year, according to data compiled by Shire Plc, which makes the top-selling Vyvanse treatment."

Some believe this uptake is because ADHD continues into adulthood, and more adults are being diagnosed with ADHD by doctors, who are often being educated/influenced by drug companies.

Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov recently told analysts in a recent conference call: "We’ve shifted more effort into the adult ADHD market, which is now more than half of the overall market and has the highest growth. It’s growing fast, almost twice as fast as the overall market."

Vyvanse dominated half the world market for branded ADHD medications in 2014, which was reflected in its sales that went up 18 percent to $1.4 billion.

Vyvanse is way ahead of Johnson & Johnson’s Concerta and Novartis AG’s Ritalin, which both saw their patents expire.

Shire’s has also recreated its Adderall drug (for adults) to make it last 16 hours; the drug company hopes to get approval in 2017.

While European users are mainly children, Ornskov is seeing markets open up for adults in Scandinavia, Germany and Spain.

“Sweden is one of our fastest uptick markets, even beating the benchmarks for the U.S.,” Ornskov added.

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) states on its website about kids in the U.S.: "Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011."

"The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase, from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011."

"Rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 and an average of approximately 5% per year from 2003 to 2011."

Sources: Bloomberg, Centers For Disease Control
Image Credit: CC-ZERO