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Do internationally adopted children in the Netherlands use more medication than their non-adopted peers?

Empirical evidence has shown that international adoptees present physical growth delays, precocious puberty, behavioral problems, and mental health referrals more often than non-adoptees. We hypothesized that the higher prevalence of (mental) health problems in adoptees is accompanied by elevated consumption of prescription drugs, including antidepressants, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication, and medication for growth inhibition/stimulation. In an archival, population-based Dutch cohort study, data on medication use were available from the Health Care Insurance Board by Statistics Netherlands from 2006 to 2011. The Dutch population born between 1994 and 2005 and alive during the period of measurement was included (2,360,450 including 10,602 international adoptees, of which 4447 from China). Their mean age was 6.5 years at start (range 1-12 years) and 11.5 years at the end of the measurement period (range 6-17 years). Chinese female adoptees used less medication for precocious puberty (as treatment for precocious puberty; odds ratio (OR) = 0.57, effect size Cohen’s d = -0.31) and contraception (OR = 0.65, d = -0.24) than non-adoptees. For both males and females, non-Chinese adoptees used more medication for ADHD than non-adoptees (males: OR = 1.22, females: OR = 1.32), but the effect was small (males: d = 0.11, females: d = 0.15).

 

Do internationally adopted children in the Netherlands use more medication than their non-adopted peers?

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