Use of Psychostimulant Medication for ADHD in South Australia

Robert Reid, Paul Hakendorf, Brenton Prosser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)906-913
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


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