HealthDay News — Pediatric patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), compared with their peers, are at an increased risk of concurrent substance abuse disorders, according to researchers.

“Primary-care providers should seek to identify and treat ADHD to prevent the development of SUDs,” wrote Elizabeth Harstad, MD, MPH, and colleagues on the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Abuse, in a report published in Pediatrics.

“However, the recommended first-line medication therapy for ADHD is stimulant medications, which themselves pose a risk of misuse, diversion and abuse,” they noted.

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Compared with children without ADHD, patients diagnosed with ADHD were twice as likely to have a lifetime history of nicotine use (odds ratio, 2.08; P<0.001); almost twice as more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence (OR, 1.7; P<0.001); and twice as likely to develop cocaine abuse or dependence (OR, 2.05, P<0.001).

“An an important part of ADHD treatment and stimulant medication management includes screening for SUDs and providing anticipatory guidance around the appropriate and safe use of stimulant medications,” recommended the authors.