Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the European adult population: Prevalence, disease awareness, and treatment guidelines

Josep Antoni Ramos-Quiroga, Alonso Montoya, Alexandra Kutzelnigg, Walter Deberdt, Esther Sobanski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic neurobiological disorder with childhood onset and persistence into adolescence and adulthood. Methods: Our literature review reports scientific publications and guidelines on the treatment of adult ADHD, with a particular focus on European countries, identified by literature searches in Medline and Embase. The final literature search was performed in July 2012, incorporating literature from 1974 to 2012. The primary research parameters were 'Europe' (including single European countries), 'ADHD', 'attention deficit disorder', 'attention deficit', 'attention disorder', and 'hyperactivity'. Secondary search parameters were 'comorbid', 'epidemiology' or 'prevalence', 'disease management', 'drug therapy', or 'therapy'. The main searches were also limited to adults and English language publications. The papers identified by this literature review were selected for inclusion by consensus of the authors based on clinical relevance. Results: Appropriate resources for the diagnosis and treatment of adult ADHD in Europe are scarce, and many cases go untreated, particularly because of the frequent presence of psychiatric comorbidities. Apart from atomoxetine, and an extended-release form of methylphenidate in Germany, no other medications have been approved for starting treatment in adult ADHD patients in the European Union. However, a variety of stimulant and non-stimulant medications are used off-label, and a number of studies have confirmed that these medications are well tolerated and effective in adult patients with ADHD. Conclusions: Our results emphasize the need for broader access to effective treatments for adult ADHD patients in Europe. © 2013 Informa UK Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1104
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013


  • Adult ADHD
  • Atomoxetine
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Epidemiology
  • Methylphenidate
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Treatment guidelines


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