5 Things to Know About Adult ADHD

FEBRUARY 02, 2016
Meghan Ross, Senior Associate Editor
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has long been viewed as a pediatric condition, but it often lasts into adulthood.

Some older patients may have never been diagnosed as a child, and there is evidence suggesting that more adults are just now seeking treatment for ADHD.

There are a few ways pharmacists can assist these patients. When pharmacists dispense ADHD medications to adults, for instance, they can ask what other medications the patients are currently taking or have discontinued, Charles H. Brown, MSPharm, RPh, CACP, previously wrote.

One of the reasons for this is that some patients with ADHD may be at higher risk for stroke, heart attack, and sudden death, so any medication should be monitored for its effects on cardiovascular health. Adderall or Ritalin may create problems for older patients with cardiac or blood pressure issues, for example.

In addition, pharmacists should ask patients if their ADHD medication seems to be working, if they are experiencing any adverse effects, and if they have questions about their medication.

“When buying an OTC cold/allergy medication containing pseudoephedrine, all patients should be cautioned about the risks of taking an ADHD stimulant drug concurrently,” Brown noted.
Another way pharmacists can help is directing patients to take an online screening test at ADDadult.com as a starting point.

Some of the screening questions may address whether patients feel overly active or suddenly compelled to do something, whether they have a hard time remembering appointments, and whether they are easily distracted by noise or activity.

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5) updated its definition of ADHD to “more accurately characterize the experience of affected adults.” The DSM-5 recognized that earlier definitions of ADHD did not provide sufficient guidance for diagnosing adults.

Here are 5 things pharmacists should know about their adult patients with ADHD.