Medications can reduce STI risk among men with ADHD by up to 41%

Male adolescent and young adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder who take medications face a lower risk of subsequent sexually transmitted infections, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Researchers studied 17,898 Taiwanese adolescents (12 to 17 years) and young adults (18 to 29 years) who were diagnosed with ADHD and 71,592 age and sex-matched non-ADHD controls, who did not have sexually transmitted infections before enrolling in the study. They followed the study subjects from Jan. 1, 2001 through Dec. 31, 2009.

The study shows that adolescents and young adults with ADHD had greater incidence of sexually transmitted infections and developed them at a younger age compared to the controls. However, use of ADHD medication reduced the risk of subsequent sexually transmitted infections among the male ADHD cohort. Short-term ADHD medication use reduced the risk by 30 percent and long-term use reduced it by 41 percent.

"Clinical psychiatrists [should] focus on the occurrence of risky sexual behaviors and the risk of STIs among patients with ADHD and emphasize that treatment with ADHD medications may be a protective factor for prevention of STIs," said Mu-Hong Chen, MD, lead study author and physician at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital and the College of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei in Taiwan.

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