Pre-existing cardiovascular conditions and pharmacological treatment of adult ADHD

Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA.
Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety (Impact Factor: 2.94). 05/2010; 19(5):457-64. DOI: 10.1002/pds.1931
Source: PubMed


Stimulants and atomoxetine should generally not be used or used only with caution in adults with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions. The extent to which pre-existing cardiovascular conditions influence initiation of these ADHD medications in adults is not known.
We performed a retrospective cohort study of privately insured adults with new ADHD treatment episodes. Pre-existing cardiovascular conditions were assessed by the presence of ICD-9-CM codes for congenital abnormalities, atherosclerosis, cardiac disease, and cerebrovascular disease in the 12 months before the index ADHD diagnosis. The primary outcome was new initiation of a stimulant or atomoxetine in the 3 months after the index date. Multivariate logistic regression was used to predict the likelihood of treatment initiation with stimulants or atomoxetine based on pre-existing cardiovascular conditions, patient demographic characteristics, clinical mental disorder comorbidities, other psychotropic drug use, and provider type.
Of 8752 patients with a new ADHD treatment episode, 917 (10.5%) had evidence of >or=1 pre-existing cardiovascular condition. Stimulants were started by 40.8% of patients with and 53.0% of patients without pre-existing cardiovascular conditions (Adjusted Odds Ratio, AOR 0.71; 95%CI 0.61-0.82). Pre-existing cardiovascular conditions reduced the likelihood of initiating stimulant treatment in younger but not in older patients (p-value for age x cardiovascular condition interaction = 0.0002). Initiation of atomoxetine treatment was not affected by pre-existing cardiovascular conditions (AOR 1.19, 95%CI 0.94-1.50).
Pre-existing cardiovascular conditions reduce the likelihood of stimulant therapy but not atomoxetine treatment in adult ADHD patients. However, many adult ADHD patients with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions initiate stimulant therapy.

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