BACKGROUND: Combination therapy in managing psychiatric disorders is not uncommon. While combination therapy has been documented for depression and schizophrenia, little is known about combination therapy practices in managing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study seeks to quantify the combination use of ADHD medications and to understand predictors of combination therapy.
METHODS: Prescription dispensing events were drawn from a U.S. national claims database including over 80 managed-care plans. Patients studied were age 18 or over with at least 1 medical claim with a diagnosis of ADHD (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification [ICD-9-CM] code 314.0), a pharmacy claim for ADHD medication during the study period July 2003 to June 2004, and continuous enrollment 6 months prior to and throughout the study period. Dispensing events were grouped into 6 categories: atomoxetine (ATX), long-acting stimulants (LAS), intermediate-acting stimulants (IAS), short-acting stimulants (SAS), bupropion (BUP), and Alpha-2 Adrenergic Agonists (A2A). Events were assigned to calendar months, and months with combined use from multiple categories within patient were identified. Predictors of combination therapy for LAS and for ATX were modeled for patients covered by commercial plans using logistic regression in a generalized estimating equations framework to adjust for within-patient correlation between months of observation. Factors included age, gender, presence of the hyperactive component of ADHD, prior diagnoses for psychiatric disorders, claims history of recent psychiatric visit, insurance plan type, and geographic region.
RESULTS: There were 18,609 patients identified representing a total of 11,886 months of therapy with ATX; 40,949 months with LAS; 13,622 months with IAS; 38,141 months with SAS; 22,087 months with BUP; and 1,916 months with A2A. Combination therapy was present in 19.7% of continuing months (months after the first month of therapy) for ATX, 21.0% for LAS, 27.4% for IAS, 23.1% for SAS, 36.9% for BUP, and 53.0% for A2A.For patients receiving LAS, being age 25-44 or age 45 and older versus being 18-24 years old, seeing a psychiatrist, having comorbid depression, or having point-of-service coverage versus a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) resulted in odds ratios significantly greater than 1, representing increased likelihood for combination therapy in managing adult ADHD.For patients receiving ATX, being age 25-44 or age 45 and older versus being 18-24 years old, seeing a psychiatrist, having a hyperactive component to ADHD, or having comorbid depression resulted in odds ratios significantly greater than 1, representing increased likelihood for combination therapy in managing adult ADHD.
CONCLUSION: ATX and LAS are the most likely drugs to be used as monotherapy. Factors predicting combination use were similar for months in which ATX was used and for months in which LAS was used except that a hyperactive component to ADHD predicted increased combination use for ATX but not for LAS.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Pohl, Gerhardt M.; Van Brunt, David L.; Ye, Wenyu; Stoops, William W.; and Johnston, Joseph A., "A retrospective claims analysis of combination therapy in the treatment of adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)" (2009). Behavioral Science Faculty Publications. 5.