Objective: A retrospective analysis of archival data on psychostimulant prescriptions from South Australia for the period 1990 to 2000 for 5,189 youths from birth to age 18 years was conducted.
Method: A person-based data set was used to assess (1) rate of new prescriptions by age group, (2) demographic characteristics (age of psychostimulant start, male-to-female ratio), (3) duration of psychostimulant use, and (4) geographic variation in psychostimulant prescription.
Results: Four major findings were observed: (1) the rate of new prescriptions increased dramatically until 1995 but is now declining; (2) demographic characteristics and changes over time mirror those observed in the United States; (3) median duration of psychostimulant use (for a subset of 1,688 children) was approximately 2.5 years; and (4) there was a significant correlation between geographic location and prescription rate.
Conclusions: The patterns of psychostimulant use in Australia closely parallel U.S. patterns. Physicians' prescribing practices may be extremely volatile. Duration of medication treatment should receive increased attention. There is pronounced geographic variability in prescription rates which may be related to socioeconomic status.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2002|