Medical association to create 1st guidelines for diagnosing, treating ADHD

The American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders plans to develop the nation's first guidelines for diagnosing and treating attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in adults, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 1. 

There are guidelines for diagnosing and treating the condition in children and adolescents, but none exist for adults. The decision to develop the guidance largely stems from specialists' concerns that telehealth startups Cerebral and Done have overprescribed stimulants throughout the pandemic. In March, the Journal reported that some Cerebral clinicians said they felt pressure to prescribe stimulants, such as Adderall, to patients after a 30-minute evaluation, which they said was not enough time to properly diagnose ADHD. 

Large pharmacy retailers including CVS Health and Rite Aid have stopped filling Adderall and other controlled-substance prescriptions for Cerebral and Done. Both companies have previously denied pressuring clinicians to prescribe stimulants. In May, Cerebral said it would stop prescribing most controlled substances.

The group working on the new ADHD guidelines told the Journal that research shows many in-person clinicians also don't complete steps necessary for a high-quality evaluation, such as taking blood-pressure readings. 

"We want to make sure that all ADHD medications are prescribed appropriately and that everyone has access to high-quality evaluations," Ann Childress, MD, president of the American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders, told the news outlet. 

The guidelines are expected to be released next year and are likely to include steps that would require more than 30 minutes to complete, including obtaining detailed personal and family medical histories. 

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