Parents report on stimulant-treated children in The Netherlands: Initiation of treatment and follow-up care

Adrianne Faber, Luuk J. Kalverdijk, Lolkje T.W. De Jong-Van Den Berg, Jacqueline G. Hugtenburg, Ruud B. Minderaa, Hilde Tobi

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Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe current practices around initiation and follow-up care of stimulant treatment among stimulant-treated children in a nationwide survey among parents. Methods: A total of 115 pharmacies detected current stimulant users <16 years old in their pharmacy information system and sent parents a questionnaire regarding their child's stimulant treatment. Results: Parents returned 924 of 1,307 questionnaires (71%). The median age of the stimulant users was 10 years and 85% were boys. In all, 91% were diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In 77% of the cases, the child or parents received other therapies besides stimulants-21% received psychotropic co-medication, with melatonin (11%) and antipsychotics (7%) being mentioned most frequently. Stimulant use was primarily initiated by child psychiatrists (51%) and pediatricians (32%), but most children received repeat prescriptions from general practitioners (61%). Of these 924 children, 19% did not receive any follow-up care, and transfer of prescribing responsibility increased the risk of not receiving follow-up care. The 732 children (79%) who were monitored visited a physician approximately twice a year. During follow-up visits, pediatricians performed physical check ups significantly more often. Conclusion: Stimulant treatment in The Netherlands is initiated mainly by specialists such as child psychiatrists and pediatricians. In the current study, follow-up care for stimulant-treated children in The Netherlands appeared to be poor, suggesting an urgent need for improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-440
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2006

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