ADHD spend to increase 13-fold

Attention-deficiency hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug costs for the NHS are set to soar with increased diagnosis of the condition in children and adolescents in the UK, claim German researchers.

The estimated £7 million spend on ADHD by the NHS in 2002 is expected to rise to between £49 and £101 million a year by 2012. The overall drug expenditure by individual doctors for ADHD may increase nine-fold.

Professor Michael Schlander, from the University of Heidelberg calculated the range of possible costs by considering likelihood of diagnosis and treatment, the level of treatment and drug costs.

The calculation is based on the assumption that ADHD has, until recently, been undiagnosed in the UK. In turn, the number of scrips for ADHD drugs has increased.

A BBC Panorama programme led to reports that the drugs offer no long-term benefit.

These claims were based on a three-year follow-up study that showed little difference between children with ADHD managed with drugs and those given behavioural or routine care.

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