ADHD Treatment Lowered Car Accident Risk in Men

ADHD linked to increased risk of serious car accident but men lowered risk with medication

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Safely driving a car requires concentration and focus, which might be difficult for those with ADHD. One new study looked at the relationship between ADHD and serious car accidents among adults.

This new study showed that adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a higher risk of being involved in a serious car accident than the general population.

The data showed that men with ADHD lowered their risk of serious car accidents through medication; however, they found no significant change among female drivers with ADHD.

"Speak with your doctor about options for treating ADHD."

The study was led by Zheng Chang, PhD, of the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

The research team looked at 17,408 individuals with ADHD in Sweden over the four-year period from 2006-2009 using various population health registers.

These researchers searched first for any serious car accident in the Patient Register and Cause of Death Register databases, then they identified any of the individuals on their list of known ADHD patients.

The study went further and established if the patient had been on medication at the time of any accident by searching the Prescribed Drug Register.

The study included 10,528 men and 6,880 women with ADHD between the ages of 18 and 46. The men had a prescribed medication rate of 57.5 percent and 6.5 percent had at least one serious car accident during the study period.

The general population data showed that 2.6 percent of men had an accident during the same period.

The research showed that 65.3 percent of the women were prescribed medication for their ADHD and 3.9 percent had a serious car accident during the study period. The general population data showed that 1.8 percent of women had an accident during the same period.

When the research team looked at ADHD patients taking or not taking ADHD medication, they found that accident rates for men with ADHD fell 29 percent among medicated patients. The numbers for women with ADHD did not show a statistically significant difference between the medicated and non-medicated women.

The authors performed additional analysis to look at periods of time when an individual was taking or not taking ADHD medication.

The data showed that medication decreased the accident rate by 58 percent among men but again showed no statistical significance among women with ADHD.

The authors concluded that ADHD was associated with a greater risk of car accidents and that that risk was reduced among men through ADHD medication.

In addition, the authors believe that there is enough evidence to suggest that doctors should inform ADHD patients about the increased risks of car accidents and the benefit of medication in lowering that risk.

This study was published March 5 in JAMA Psychiatry.

This study was supported in part by grants from the Swedish Research Council.

The authors reported no disclosures.

Review Date: 
March 6, 2014
Last Updated:
March 7, 2014