5 Ways to Improve Medication Adherence for Pediatric ADHD Clinical Trial Participants

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neurodevelopmental behavioral disorder in childhood and adolescence.1 The worldwide pooled prevalence in this population is estimated to be 6-8%, with estimates varying depending on measurement methodology.1 Although medication is safe and effective in treating ADHD, non-adherence to stimulant treatment is generally high, with an estimated 50% of patients choosing to discontinue pharmacotherapy.1

Causes of medication nonadherence in pediatric populations with ADHD include:

  • Adverse effects of medications: The most commonly cited reason for ADHD medication nonadherence is adverse effects, such as reduced weight/appetite, increased aggressive behavior/irritability, and sleep difficulties.2

  • Executive function challenges: Many children and adolescents with ADHD have executive function challenges and comorbid learning disabilities, which can lead to poor self-regulation, poor working memory, and poor time management. These skills are needed to consistently take medication.3

  • Disorganization and planning difficulties: Associated difficulties with disorganization and planning can lead patients to have poor adherence and subsequent treatment failure.4

Several interventions have been found to be effective in improving medication adherence in pediatric populations with ADHD. These interventions include:

  1. Parental education delivering the knowledge, confidence, and motivation to manage their child’s condition5

  2. Behavioral interventions such as contingency management, which involves providing rewards for medication adherence.5 For example, participants in an AiCure-supported pediatric ADHD trial were provided with micro-reimbursements for successful use of AiCure medication adherence technology. Click here to read the case study.

  3. Multidisciplinary care that includes medication management, education, and behavioral interventions6

  4. Electronic reminders These are available with AiCure Patient Connect, a powerful mobile app for capturing and analyzing dosing behavior using smartphone video, computer vision and machine learning. Learn more: AiCure Patient Connect fact sheet.

  5. Executive function support such as organizational tools and time management strategies7

It is important to note that interventions found to be effective for one patient may not be effective for another, and a combination of interventions may be necessary to improve medication adherence in pediatric populations with ADHD.8

Adherence interventions are among the hundreds of data points captured by AiCure Patient Connect. Clinical trial sponsors often engage with AiCure Clinical Site Services to make sense of this data and access direct AiCure expertise for study monitoring, site outreach, and individualized support. Learn more in the AiCure Site Services fact sheet.

1A systematic review of interventions to enhance adherence and persistence with ADHD pharmacotherapy - ScienceDirect
2Strategies for improving ADHD medication adherence - PMC
3How to Improve Medication Adherence in Adults and Teens with ADHD
4Review of medication adherence in children and adults with ADHD
5Strategies for improving ADHD medication adherence
6A systematic review of interventions to enhance adherence and persistence with ADHD pharmacotherapy - ScienceDirect
7Adherence Challenges With Medications in Patients With ADHD
8Issues in medication adherence for children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder