The usage and usage trends for methylphenidate (MPH) treatment of ADHD from 1990 through 1995 were estimated by the Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Johs Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore County Health Department, and the Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD. A review of regional and national databases showed a 2.5-fold increase in the prevalence of MPH treatment of youths with ADD in this time period. Approximately 2.8% (1.5 million) US children aged 5 to 18 received MPH for ADD in 1995. The increased usage was related to more prolonged treatment, more girls, and adolescents receiving medication for ADD. [1]

COMMENT. A 2.8-fold increase in methylphenidate usage between 1990 and 1995, as shown in this study, is far less than the media claims of a 6-fold increased usage, based on DEA production quotas for methylphenidate in this time period. The findings do not address the appropriateness of stimulant therapy for ADHD.