Background The aim of this study was to investigate ADHD medication use among school-aged children and adolescents in Finnish hospital districts and municipalities in 2018.
Methods Aggregated data on medication use for ADHD in 2018 were extracted from the nationwide register on reimbursed prescriptions. Annual prevalences of ADHD medication use by gender were calculated as the number of children and adolescents (aged 7–15) with at least one ADHD medication purchase divided by the number of population. Municipality-level analysis included data from 248 municipalities.
Results ADHD medication use among boys varied from 2.9% to 9.9% across hospital districts, and from 0.5% to 16.2% across municipalities. The figures for girls were 0.5–2.8% and 0.0–6.7%, respectively.
Conclusions The prevalence of ADHD medication use has increased steadily in Finland. However, male to female discrepancies in prescribing patterns of ADHD medication have remained relatively large. Further research is required to examine the factors that relate to geographical differences between and within genders.