Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Questionnaire Helps to Identify Patients' Drug Diversion, Misuse

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Questionnaire Helps to Identify Patients' Drug Diversion, Misuse

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder who engage in drug diversion or misuse are easy to identify, Dr. Timothy Wilens said at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

To gauge the extent and nature of stimulant misuse and diversion, Dr. Wilens and his colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston administered a self-report questionnaire on medication use to young adult patients (average age 20.8 years) receiving stimulant drugs for their condition.

Of the 98 patients, 55 had concomitant conduct disorder and/or substance abuse problems. Approximately 11% of the patients surveyed reported selling their medication, and 22% acknowledged deliberate misuse--either by taking more than their prescribed dose or by adding a later dose--primarily to enhance performance or to "get high," Dr. Wilens said.

All of the patients who sold their drugs had either a conduct or substance abuse disorder, as did all but 5% of those who misused their medication. Among those who diverted medications, 83% had a substance abuse history, and 30% had comorbid conduct disorder. Among those who misused their medications, 75% had a substance abuse history, and 59% had comorbid conduct disorder.

Those patients taking intermediate-acting formulations of stimulants were more likely to engage in drug diversion or misuse. No diversion or misuse occurred with extended-release formulations.

"There are a few take-home messages from these findings," Dr. …

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