Adherence to medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is less than optimal. Previous studies have primarily focused on qualitative assessment of factors that influence medication adherence.
This study aimed to quantify the factors that influence patient and parent preferences for continuing ADHD medication.
A discrete-choice experiment was conducted to investigate preferences. Adults, and parents of children, with ADHD were presented with eight hypothetical choice tasks of three options (Medication A, Medication B, No Medication) described by six attributes related to medication outcomes. Preferences were estimated using a mixed multinomial logit model.
Overall, respondents’ preferences (n = 216) for continuing medication were negative (mean [β] = −1.426, p < .001); however, a significant heterogeneity in preferences was observed amongst respondents (standard deviation = 0.805, p < .001). Improvements in education, aggressive behaviour, social behaviour and family functioning, and side effects and stigma, influenced respondents’ decision to continue taking medication. The respondents were willing to continue medication if they experienced positive effects, but side effects (even moderate) were the strongest concern for not continuing medication. While side effects were the most important factor for both adult patients and parents of children with ADHD, improvement in education was relatively more important for adults and improvement in aggressive behaviour, social behaviour and family functioning was relatively more important for parents of children with ADHD. Parents were more likely to not continue a medication with severe side effects even at the highest level of improvement in education.
Side effects are the most important factor that influenced preferences for continuing medication for both adults with ADHD, as well as parents of children with ADHD. While overall the respondents preferred not to take/give medication, discrete-choice experiment showed that the relative importance of factors that influenced continuation of medications was different for the two groups.
Patient and Public Involvement
Adults, and parents of children, with ADHD participated in this study by completing the online questionnaire. The questionnaire was based on findings of research in the literature, as well as earlier focus groups conducted with adults, and parents of children, with ADHD. The face validity of the questionnaire was determined by asking parents of children, and adults, with ADHD (n = 3) to complete the survey and participate in a short discussion on their understanding of the questions and their recommendations on improving the clarity of the survey.