Trends in Medication Treatment of Hyperactive School Children: Results of Six Biannual Surveys

Daniel J. Safer, John M. Krager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In biannual school surveys from 1971 through 1981, it was found that the rate of medication treatment of hyperactive students increased two- to threefold over the decade. This increase applied similarly to parochial, public elementary, and public middle/junior high school stu dents. Other findings over the decade include the following: methylphenidate use increased from 40 per cent to 91 percent of all the medication prescribed for hyperactivity, administration of medication for hyperactivity in the school increased from 61 per cent to 87 per cent of the total, and the number treated with medication prescribed by the family doctor decreased from 98 per cent to 59 per cent. Noteworthy fandings in 1981 were as follows: 19 per cent of public elementary school students in special education classes were treated with medication for hy peractivity ; hyperactive students in middle/junior high school had received medication treat ment for an average of five to six years; the most common school period of medication use was grades one through four; entrance into first grade and secondary school corresponded to an increased use of medication for hyperactivity; and female, relative to male, students were treated with medication for hyperactivity less often than would be expected in teacher surveys of class room hyperactivity, a finding particularly striking in middle/junior high school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-504
Number of pages5
JournalClinical pediatrics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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