More young women are using prescription drugs to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD since 2003, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds.

The agency reported that the number grew by 344 percent over the last 10 years.

More Women Are Using ADHD Drugs For Treatment

Researchers from CDC had examined prescriptions for ADHD medication among women between the years 2003 and 2015. The prescriptions included over four million women every year between the ages 15 and 44 years old.

The researchers discovered that the number of prescriptions for all women grew sharply during the same period, especially among young women. The number of prescriptions made for women between the ages of 25 and 29 years old rose by 700 percent while the number of women between 30 and 34 years old increased by 560 percent.

The researchers also discovered that these prescriptions were acquired by 3 to 6 percent of adult women in different age groups in 2015. Back in 2003, the percentage was much lower at only 1 percent or even less.

For instance, the number of prescriptions among women between the ages of 20 and 24 years old increased from 1 percent in 2003 to 5.5 percent in 2015.

Most Commonly Used ADHD Drugs

In addition to the number of prescriptions, the researchers also found that Ritalin, Vyvanse, and, Adderall, were the most commonly used drugs to treat ADHD among women.

Also, the biggest increase in prescription numbers was seen in western and southern regions of the United States. Overall, the numbers were higher than previous rates in Canada and the United Kingdom.

The recent study does not mention the reason behind the increases in number. Experts, however, suggest that public awareness of the psychological disorder has been improving since the 2000s.

Effects Of ADHD Drugs On The Fetus

Since the greatest increases were seen in females of reproductive age, a large number of women is now also using the drug during pregnancy. Health experts say that there is almost no research available on the safety of ADHD drugs during pregnancy. They do not know exactly either as to how ADHD drugs such as Concerta and Ritalin would affect the fetus.

"Early pregnancy is a critical time for the developing baby. We need to better understand the safest ways to treat ADHD before and during pregnancy," says Coleen Boyle, director of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

The report was published in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Jan. 18.

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