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2007-9-2 10:02:38

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The number of prescriptions for drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children ages 5 to 19 increased 274 percent worldwide between 1993 and 2003. And spending on the drugs increased nine-fold, says a U.S. study in the journal Health Affairs.

During that time, the number of countries using ADHD drugs increased from 31 to 55. Australia, Canada and the United States all had higher-than-expected use of the drugs, BBC News reported.

"ADHD could become the leading childhood disorder treated with medication across the globe," said study leader Professor Richard Scheffler of the University of California, Berkeley.

Scheffler noted that one in 25 American children and adolescents is taking drugs for ADHD. He added that the study findings challenge the widespread belief that ADHD is largely a U.S. issue, BBC News reported.

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