Nonmedical Use and Diversion of ADHD Stimulants Among U.S. Adults Ages 18-49

Authors: Cassidy, T. A.; Varughese, S.; Russo, L.; Budman, S. H., et al.

Journal of Attention Disorders, Volume: 19 issue: 7, page(s): 630-640
Article first published online: December 26, 2012

Objective: Evaluate nonmedical use (NMU) of ADHD prescription stimulants (Ritalin®, Adderall®, Adderall® XR, Concerta®, and Vyvanse®) in a U.S. adult general population sample.

Method: In all, 10,000 adults (aged 18-49) from an online, opt-in panel, proximity matched to U.S. Census demographics, were surveyed to assess NMU prevalence, routes of administration (ROA), reasons for NMU, and diversion source.

Results: Lifetime NMU of any prescription drug was 35.1%, pain medications (24.6%), sedatives/tranquilizers (15.6%), sleep medications (9.9%), and prescription stimulants (8.1%). Within the prescription stimulants, rates of NMU (per 100,000 prescriptions dispensed) were 1.62 for Ritalin and 1.61 for Adderall followed by Adderall XR (0.62), Concerta (0.19), and Vyvanse (0.13). Respondents used stimulants mostly for wakefulness and performance enhancement, obtained the drugs from family/friends, and used oral ROA.

Conclusion: NMU of ADHD prescription stimulants were low compared with other prescription medications. While prevalence of NMU was higher for immediate-release than extended-release ADHD medications, absolute rates for prescription stimulants were low.