The objective of this study was to examine the simultaneous impact of patient-related and parent-related factors, medication-related factors, and health care system-related factors on attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication continuity.
Stimulant-naïve children (N = 144, Mage = 8 yrs, 71% male) with ADHD completed a methylphenidate (MPH) trial and were followed for 1 year after trial completion and return to community care. Multivariable analysis investigated predictors of (1) having at least 1 filled ADHD prescription after return to community care versus none and (2) having more days covered with medicine after return to community care. Predictors included race; age; sex; income; baseline ADHD symptom severity; MPH trial experience; child and parent mental health conditions; and parent beliefs about ADHD, ADHD medications, and therapeutic alliance.
One hundred twenty-one children (84%) had at least 1 filled ADHD medication prescription (mean = 178 d covered by medication) in the year after return to community care. Multivariable models found that a weaker perceived clinician-family working alliance predicted not filling any ADHD prescriptions. Among those who filled ≥1 prescription, factors linked to fewer days of ADHD medication coverage included child sociodemographic factors (non-White race, older age, being female, and lower income), lower parent beliefs that the child's ADHD affects their lives, and higher parent beliefs that medication is harmful, while child oppositional defiant disorder and parental ADHD predicted having more days of medication coverage.
Child demographic factors, parent beliefs, and medication-related factors are associated with continuation of ADHD medication. These findings may facilitate the development of effective strategies to improve ADHD medication continuity for children from diverse groups.