Use of healthcare services before diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A population-based matched case-control study

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Abstract

Objective To compare use of healthcare services and reasons for attendance by children and young people (CYP) with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) versus non-ADHD controls. Design Population-based matched case-control study. Setting English primary care electronic health records with linked hospital records from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, 1998-2015. Participants 8127 CYP with an ADHD diagnosis aged 4-17 years at the time of diagnosis and 40 136 non-ADHD controls matched by age, sex and general practitioner (GP) practice. Main outcome measures Medical diagnoses, prescriptions, hospital admissions and hospital procedures in the 2 years before diagnosis (or the index date for controls). Results CYP with ADHD attended healthcare services twice as often as controls (rate ratios: GP: 2.0, 95% CI=2.0, 2.1; hospital 1.8, 95% CI=1.8, 1.9). CYP with ADHD attended their GP, received prescriptions and were admitted to hospital for a wide range of reasons. The strongest association for GP attendances, comparing CYP with versus without ADHD, was for 'mental and behavioural disorders' (OR=25.2, 95% CI=23.3, 27.2). Common reasons for GP attendance included eye, ear, nose, throat, oral (OR=1.5, 95% CI=1.4, 1.5) and conditions such as asthma (OR=1.3, 95% CI=1.3, 1.4) or eczema (OR=1.2, 95% CI=1.0, 1.3). Conclusions Two years before diagnosis, CYP with ADHD attended healthcare services twice as often as CYP without. CYP with ADHD had increased rates of physical conditions, such as asthma and eczema. These contacts may be an opportunity for earlier recognition and diagnosis of ADHD.

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APA

Prasad, V., Rezel-Potts, E., White, P., Downs, J., Boddy, N., Sayal, K., & Sonuga-Barke, E. (2024). Use of healthcare services before diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A population-based matched case-control study. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 109(1), 46–51. https://doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2023-325637

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