Impact of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder on school performance: what are the effects of medication?

ADHD is a disorder that can detrimentally affect a student’s performance in school and extracurricular activities. ADHD medications are highly regulated medications because they have a high abuse/theft rate because students who don’t have ADHD take them in attempts to approve their academic performance. This study looks at how much these medications actually improve quantifiable performance of students with ADHD. This study looked at academic performance (GPA, work completed) and academic skills (achievement and cognitive tests), and academic enablers (study skills, motivation) of school-age children to determine how much these stimulants improve students’ overall performance, synthesizing data from many long- and short-term studies. The results found that CNS stimulant use improved teacher perceptions of students’ classroom behavior the most, reducing disruptive behavior and increasing focus on classroom activities. It was also observed that use of stimulants increase students’ productivity, which could possibly lead to a long-term increase in GPA. The efficacy of these medications is mainly reduced by adherence, and can also be affected by the learning environment. Optimizing the effects of these medications is achieved by constant reassessment of efficacy and patient adherence.

I found this study really interesting because I know many people who have really struggled with academic performance because of ADHD, and how much being properly medicated helped their performances. As prescription of ADHD medications becomes increasing more prevalent, it is important as pharmacists to make sure that the people who actually need these types of medications are the one taking them, and that they are properly counseled in order to achieve maximum efficacy.

Baweja R, Mattison RE, Waxmonsky JG. Impact of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder on school performance: what are the effects of medication? Paediatr Drugs. 2015; 17:459-477.

1 thought on “Impact of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder on school performance: what are the effects of medication?”

  1. I think it’s also important to note that while children with ADHD struggle in school, it was mentioned in the article that “ADHD symptom severity has been found to be a better predictor of behavior than of actual school performance, at least for ADHD students in special education. Poor academic progress was more related to the nature of their academic problems rather than their ADHD or other behavioral problems. ” Which also bring up the fact that maybe medication isn’t the only way to help solve academic issues for students with ADHD. Maybe something needs to be changed in the school systems or how teachers teach. Maybe students with ADHD need to be taught in a way that is more suited for how they learn and more one-on-one or smaller group teachings needs to occur for them to learn better. Maybe this is one case where drugs can help, but won’t be the ultimate solution to the problem, and I think we as pharmacists are so used to thinking that drugs are the solution to everything. Sometimes we need to step back and think about the bigger picture and maybe suggest alternative medicine or alternative treatments for the health of the patient

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