Percentage of children 6-12 years of age and newly prescribed a medication for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who had appropriate follow-up care. Two rates are reported.
a. Percentage of children who had one follow-up visit with a practitioner with prescribing authority during the 30-Day Initiation Phase.
b. Percentage of children who remained on ADHD medication for at least 210 days and who, in addition to the visit in the Initiation Phase, had at least two additional follow-up visits with a practitioner within 270 days (9 months) after the Initiation Phase ended.
ADHD is one of the more common chronic conditions of childhood. Children with ADHD may experience significant functional problems, such as school difficulties; academic underachievement; troublesome relationships with family members and peers; and behavioral problems (AAP, 2000). Given the high prevalence of ADHD among school-aged children (4%–12%), primary care clinicians will regularly encounter children with ADHD and should have a strategy for diagnosing and long-term management of this condition (AAP, 2001).
Practitioners can convey the efficacy of pharmacotherapy to their patients. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines recommend that once a child is stable, an office visit every three to six months allows assessment of learning and behavior (AAP, 2001). Follow-up appointments should be made at least monthly until the child’s symptoms have been stabilized (AACAP, 2007).
Providers have an opportunity to track medication use in patients and provide the appropriate follow-up care to monitor clinical symptoms and potential adverse events.
Clinical Recommendation Statements
American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Practice Guideline for the Diagnosis, Evaluation and Treatment of ADHD in Children and Adolescents (2019)
- Key Action Statement (KAS) 1: The pediatrician or other primary care clinicians (PCC) should initiate an evaluation for ADHD for any child or adolescent age 4 years to the 18th birthday who presents with academic or behavioral problems and symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. Grade B: Strong Recommendation
- KAS 4: ADHD is a chronic condition; therefore, the PCC should manage children and adolescents with ADHD in the same manner that they would children and youth with special health care needs, following the principles of the chronic care model and the medical home. Grade B: Strong Recommendation
- KAS 5b: For elementary and middle school-aged children (age 6 years to the 12th birthday) with ADHD, the PCC should prescribe FDA-approved medications for ADHD, along with parent training in behavior management (PTBM) and/or behavioral classroom intervention (preferably both PTBM and behavioral classroom interventions). Educational interventions and individualized instructional supports, including school environment, class placement, instructional placement, and behavioral supports, are a necessary part of any treatment plan and often include an IEP or a rehabilitation plan (504 plan). Grade A: Strong Recommendation
- KAS 6. “The PCC should titrate doses of medication for ADHD to achieve maximum benefit with tolerable side effects”. Grade B, strong recommendation
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Practice Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with ADHD (2007)
- Overall Guideline: The key to effective long-term management of the patient with ADHD is continuity of care with a clinician experienced in the treatment of ADHD. The frequency and duration of follow-up sessions should be individualized for each family and patient, depending on the severity of ADHD symptoms; the degree of comorbidity of other psychiatric illness; the response to treatment; and the degree of impairment in home, school, work, or peer-related activities. The clinician should establish an effective mechanism for receiving feedback from the family and other important informants in the patient's environment to be sure symptoms are well controlled and side effects are minimal. Although this parameter does not seek to set a formula for the method of follow-up, significant contact with the clinician should typically occur two to four times per year in cases of uncomplicated ADHD and up to weekly sessions at times of severe dysfunction or complications of treatment.
- Recommendation 6: A Well-Thought-Out and Comprehensive Treatment Plan Should Be Developed for the Patient With ADHD. The treatment plan should be reviewed regularly and modified if the patient's symptoms do not respond. Minimal Standard [MS]
- Recommendation 9. During a Psychopharmacological Intervention for ADHD, the Patient Should Be Monitored for Treatment-Emergent Side Effects. Minimal Standard [MS]
- Recommendation 12. Patients Should Be Assessed Periodically to Determine Whether There Is Continued Need for Treatment or If Symptoms Have Remitted. Treatment of ADHD Should Continue as Long as Symptoms Remain Present and Cause Impairment. Minimal Standard [MS]