National excess costs for ADHD pummel patient purses

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) doesn’t just pose a problem to impulsivity. According to recent analysis, patient checkbooks also tend to fall prey to the ruses of the far-reaching condition, and in a major way.

[See also: FDA warns on counterfeit Adderall]

A systematic literature review, established and composed by economists from Tufts Medical Center, the University of Pennsylvania and the Global Health Economics & Outcomes Research group at Shire Specialty Pharmaceuticals, situated annual national excess costs for ADHD in the United States within the range of $143 billion to $266 billion. Moreover, 70 percent of these overall costs were associated with adult patients or to adult family members of patients diagnosed with the condition. 

"ADHD is often perceived as a childhood disease, but this analysis demonstrates that at a national level, the economic impact of ADHD on adults may be larger than that on children," said Peter Neumann, ScD, director of the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts Medical Center, and Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in a press release.

Adults with ADHD and adults who care for a family member with ADHD were found to incur surplus costs almost three times higher than children or adolescents saddled with the condition. The economic burden in respect to older individuals was often associated with workplace productivity [due to absenteeism, presenteeism (poor performance while at work), disability payments and/or workers' compensation] and income losses, analysts discovered. Such categories racked up projected costs of $87 billion - $138 billion — anywhere from $209 to $6,699 annually for each individual adult affected — accounting for more than 70 to 80 percent of overall costs in adults.

Expenses for children, while not as imposing, still piled high. Economists found the economic burden on youngsters with ADHD to be between roughly $38 billion and $72 billion. Health costs (from $21 billion to $44 billion annually) as well as added education costs (ranging from $15 billion to $25 billion annually) were among the more robust charge-amassing categories for the fledgling demographic.

A bulletin from Shire Development LLC — the company that funded the work — described the analysis methodology as such: “For individuals with ADHD, the excess costs for each category were estimated by comparing the relevant costs against those of individuals who were not diagnosed with ADHD. For family members of individuals with ADHD, costs were compared to those of individuals who did not have a family member with ADHD. The excess costs were then extrapolated to the entire U.S. population using established scientific methodologies.”

Additionally, due to a shortage of available data, analysts were unable to evaluate the economic impact of treatment interventions, traffic accidents and substance abuse on the ADHD populace.

"Additional research to understand and quantify the potential impact of treatment of ADHD in all age groups is needed," Neumann concluded.


Comments (1)

Jean Nystrom: I am so surprised more research is not being done in the neurology of ADHD. I switched from the meds. to a neurofeedback program play attention and have had great success. At the end of the day when I added up the cost of the medications, coaches and therapists the program paid for itself.

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