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Know More: ADHD medications may reduce risk of sexually transmitted infection

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

New findings show a co-relation between ADHD and various health-risk behaviours. Pearl Mathias delves into the study to tell you more about it

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD, is a neurological condition characterised by limited attention span and hyperactivity. And, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), ADHD increases the risk of subsequent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among adolescent and young adult populations by about three times.

“Increasing evidence supports an association between ADHD and various health-risk behaviours, such as risky driving, substance abuse and risky sexual behaviours,” said lead author Mu-Hong Chen, MD, physician at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital and the College of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei. The findings are based on the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, in which a cohort of 17,898 adolescents and young adults who were diagnosed with ADHD, and 71,592 age- and sex-matched non-ADHD controls who did not have STIs prior to the enrolment, were studied.

The researchers followed data related to risk of STIs, including HIV, syphilis, genital warts, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia infection and trichomoniasis, psychiatric comorbidity and pharmacologic treatment for ADHD (methylphenidate or atomoxetine).

What they found was that adolescents and young adults with ADHD had greater incidence of STIs and developed STIs at a younger age when compared with age and sex-matched peers. They also found that those adolescents and young adults with ADHD had a higher prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity (additional disorder or disease), including disruptive behaviour disorder, alcohol use disorders and substance use disorders.

The authors conclude that treatment with ADHD medications may provide a protective effect for the prevention of STIs.

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