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Medications Could Lower Car Accident Risk for ADHD Patients

Posted On: 05-12-2017
Medications Could Lower Car Accident Risk for ADHD Patients
According to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, taking prescribed medication for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can lower the risk of getting into a car accident.

The most common symptoms of ADHD can increase car accident risk—impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention, according to study author Zheng Chang. Chang is a postdoctoral candidate in the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Chang also indicated that other behaviors related to ADHD, including substance abuse, excessive risk-taking, and poor aggression control can all contribute to car accident risk.

The study showed that male ADHD patients lowered their risk of a car crash by 38 percent when taking ADHD medication, compared to 42 percent of female ADHD patients taking medication. The analysis looked at car accidents that occurred in more than 2.3 million ADHD patients, and is the first of its kind of quantify the effect in such a large sample of ADHD patients in the country.

All of the patients in the study were 18 years of age or older, and had been diagnosed with ADHD somewhere between 2005 and 2014. To obtain all of the information, researchers looked at health insurance claims in a national database, data from ADHD patients who had visited a hospital after a car crash, and prescription-filing patterns.

Although it is no surprise that a multitasking and skillful task like driving would be hindered by focus issues, this study did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More than 10 million adults in the United States suffer from ADHD, and most available medications are stimulants that help to provide focus.

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