According to a report published by the CDC in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the use of stimulant medications for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)  by reproductive-age women is on the rise.  

Researchers analyzed data from the Truven Health MarketScan Commercial Database (2003–2015) to estimate the percentage of women aged 15–44 years with private insurance who filled prescriptions for ADHD medications. In 2003, 0.9% of women filled a prescription for ADHD medications, compared to 4.0% of women in 2015.  This represents a 344% increase in the use of ADHD medications over a 12 year period.   In 2015, the most frequently filled medications were mixed amphetamine salts, lisdexamfetamine, and methylphenidate.

Because the use of ADHD medications in reproductive-aged women appears to be increasing common, additional research on the reproductive safety of ADHD medications is need so that we can inform women and their health care providers about any potential risks associated with ADHD medication exposure during pregnancy.  In addition, it is important that we understand more about the course of ADHD across pregnancy, so that we can better predict which women may be able to discontinue medications during pregnancy.  (Read more about our new research study on the Course of ADHD in Pregnancy and the Postpartum.)

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD


Anderson KN, Ailes EC, Danielson M, et al. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Medication Prescription Claims Among Privately Insured Women Aged 15–44 Years — United States, 2003–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:66–70.

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