A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that an increasing number women in childbearing years are on medication for ADHD. Between 2003 and 2023, the number of prescriptions filled among women with private insurance (aged between 15 and 44) who have prescription coverage increased by 344 per cent – important link!
Women seeking ADHD medications from outpatient pharmacies increased in this time from 0.9 percent up to 4%. In women between 25 and 29 years of age, the most significant increase was 700 percent. The increase in prescriptions for ADHD was 560 per cent among people aged 30 to 34. This pattern was consistent across the globe. These medicines have a wide range of effects on pregnant women.
Coleen Boys, the Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the CDC, states that about half the pregnancy in America is unplanned. The women may also be taking ADHD medication during the first trimester of pregnancy. That period of time is critical to the fetus’s development. It is possible that the women do not know they are pregnant when taking their medication. To prevent adverse outcomes, treating ADHD during and before pregnancy is essential.
ADHD affects adults as well as children
ADHD can affect a person’s focus and ability to control their impulsive actions. Although it’s most often diagnosed in childhood, the condition can persist well into adulthood. According to National Resource Center on ADHD 4.4 % of U.S. Adults have ADHD. Adults with the disorder may also experience depression, mood disorders and working memory issues, as well as impaired executive function.
Researchers found that using stimulant drugs could be very helpful in reducing the severity of ADHD. But, since these drugs have not been studied on expectant mothers yet, pregnant women should take caution. When women who have been taking stimulant drugs find out they are pregnant, it is important to seek support immediately to get started on the road to recovery.
Commonly used medications to treat ADHD
CDC reports that ADHD prescriptions for three drugs – lisdexamfetamine methylphenidate amphetamine salts – were generated frequently in 2015. Manufacturers warn that these stimulants are dangerous and recommend women consult with a physician before taking them. They are Category C pregnancy drugs. This means animal tests have been negative and there are limited human data to support their efficacy. They are still prescribed in pregnancy despite the possible risks, because of their benefits.