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.

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