Study in Taiwan Examines Association of ADHD, Causes of Death

JAMA Network Open

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: 11 A.M. (ET), WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2019

Media advisory: To contact corresponding author Charles Tzu-Chi Lee, Ph.D., email lee@ntnu.edu.tw. The full study is linked to this news release.

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Bottom Line: A nationwide population-based study in Taiwan suggests attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be associated with a higher risk of death from injury causes, including suicide, unintentional injury and homicide. Although the risk of suicide-related death was higher in patients with ADHD than in those without, the absolute risk of death was low and suicide deaths were rare, with natural-cause deaths and unintentional injury deaths accounting for a higher number of deaths than suicide in the group of patients with ADHD. This observational study used registry data and included nearly 276,000 patients (ranging in age from 4 to 44) first diagnosed with ADHD between 2000 and 2012 and nearly 2 million individuals without ADHD for comparison. There was no increased risk of natural-cause death between the two groups. More research is needed to understand the causes of injury deaths in patients with ADHD and identify ways to mitigate them. Limitations of the study include the findings may not generalizable to others, including people with ADHD who aren’t diagnosed and those in other international settings. The study also couldn’t analyze the effects of ADHD medications and other potential mitigating factors, such as family history and psychosocial stress.

Authors: Charles Tzu-Chi Lee, Ph.D., National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, and coauthors

 

(doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.8714)

Editor’s Note: The article includes conflict of interest and funding/support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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