ADHD prescriptions were not driven up by telehealth, study reveals

It is worth noting that there has been a long debate about how there is a shortage of medication in the market right now and what could be the cause of this. Some believe that this has been caused by the usage of telehealth where people are able to get their drugs prescribed online while others don’t agree with this. Now, a study has been published by Epic Research which describes that the shortage of drugs like Adderall which is used for ADHD treatment is not caused by telehealth. The study finds that “there has been little difference in prescribing rates for in-person or virtual care at large health centers since 2020.” Clearly, the shortage has not been caused by telehealth but we can’t say the same for weight loss drugs though.

Epic Research analyzed “more than 1 million initial patient visits for ADHD and anxiety from more than 200 large health systems to compare potential differences in prescribing rates. Between the pandemic’s first year and March 2023, about 60% of visits for both virtual and in-person care resulted in a prescription for an ADHD medication (both stimulants and non-stimulants) within 30 days of initial diagnosis. While telehealth visits remained more popular than in-person visits during the pandemic, there was not an observable, significant difference in prescribing rates by visit type”.

Khan, director of child and adoloscent telepsychiatry at NYU Langone, said “We’ve seen an increase in telehealth because of flexibility at the federal and state level, but there are mechanisms in place to make sure there’s legitimate practice of medicine,” and added that “recent data shows that increased access to telehealth hasn’t translated to over-diagnosing in younger patients. That’s been the same experience for her psychiatry practice.”

Khan added that “Some providers are running out of options for their patients, as they struggle to keep up with which stimulants arecycling in and out of shortage. Some patients are simply going without their medication entirely. Providers don’t currently have a clear view into which pharmacies have stimulants in stock, meaning patients often are left to hunt around for available medications.”


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