Packages of Care for ADHD in Low- and Middle-income Countries

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

In an article in a six-part series on treating mental health problems in resource-poor settings, researchers present "packages of care" for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in low- and middle-income countries.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a pervasive developmental disorder that, although most common in childhood and adolescence, can be diagnosed at any age. The chronic condition affects individuals throughout their lives and across all cultural contexts, say the authors, and is associated with considerable social, psychological and economic adversity. Its worldwide prevalence is about 5 percent.

Packages of care are combinations of treatments aimed at improving the recognition and management of conditions to achieve optimal outcomes. Alan Flisher, of the University of Cape Town, and colleagues found that "an appropriate package of treatment for ADHD in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) should include screening of high-risk groups, psycho-educational interventions with caregivers, methylphenidate [Ritalin, Concerta] and behavioral interventions."

The PLoS Medicine series on mental, neurological and substance use disorders in LMICs is accompanied by a related perspective by Vikram Patel and Graham Thornicroft, guest editors of the series. The series collection page, with links to the five other articles in the series, is compiled on "Speaking of Medicine"  at

Andrew Hyde

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Review Date: 
September 16, 2010