Recent Trends in Stimulant Usage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Objective: In the last decade, dramatic changes have occurred in stimulant medication prevalence and in patterns of stimulant treatment. The resultant trends merit analysis. Method: Usage patterns of stimulant medication, specifically amphetamine and methylphenidate, were analyzed for trends. The data were obtained from datasets including pharmacy claims, aggregate production quotas, bulk distribution to counties, pharmacy prescription sales, parent surveys, and physician visit surveys. Stimulant medication trends were organized by drug subclass, year, age group, gender, country, prescriber specialty, diagnosis, and expenditures. Results: Major recent trends are as follows: amphetamine medication usage has prominently surpassed methylphenidate, total stimulant prescription sales to adults have surpassed those for youth, and more adult women are prescribed stimulants than adult men. Conclusion: Stimulant medication treatment—particularly of amphetamines—is rapidly expanding in the United States. Off-label use is reported to be at least 40% of total use and appears to be more common in adults. (J. of Att. Dis. 2016; 20(6) 471-477)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-477
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Attention Disorders
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • adults
  • amphetamine
  • children
  • medication trends
  • methylphenidate
  • stimulant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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