ADHD as a Risk Factor for Infection With Covid-19

Eugene Merzon (1,2) Iris Manor (2,3), Ann Rotem (3), Tzipporah Schneider (4), Shlomo Vinker (1,2), Avivit Golan Cohen (1,2), Ari Lauden (1), Abraham Weizman (2,3,5) and Ilan Green (1,2)

Background: ADHD limits the ability to comply with Covid-19 prevention recommendations. We hypothesized that ADHD constitutes a risk factor for Covid-19 infection and that pharmacotherapy may lower that risk.

Methods: Study population included all subjects (N = 14,022) registered with Leumit Health Services between February 1st and April 30, 2020, who underwent at least one Covid-19 test. Data were collected from the electronic health records. Purchasing consecutively at least three ADHD-medication-prescriptions during past year was considered drug-treatment.

A total of 1,416 (10.1%) subjects (aged 2 months–103 years) were Covid-19-positive.They were significantly younger, and
had higher rates of ADHD (adjOR 1.58 (95% CI 1.27–1.96, p < .001) than Covid-19-negative subjects. The risk for Covid-19-Positive was higher in untreated-ADHD subjects compared to non-ADHD subjects [crudeOR 1.61 (95% CI 1.36–1.89, p < .001)], while no higher risk was detected in treated ones [crudeOR 1.07 (95% CI 0.78–1.48, p = .65)].

Untreated ADHD seems to constitute a risk factor for Covid-19 infection while drug-treatment ameliorates this effect.
(J. of Att. Dis. XXXX; XX(X) XX-XX).

Pubmed: click here

Comment by Prof. Dr. Sandra Kooij:
This is an important study that warns us that untreated ADHD patients are at increased risk for COVID-19 infection due to their very core ADHD symptoms, such as forgetfulness, impulsiveness and restlessness. We can imagine that difficulty to comply to social distancing rules indeed imposes and increased risk, but this study shows the reality of it. The good news is that treatment of ADHD with stimulant medication was associated with a normalised risk, similar to that of the general population. So treatment probably induced better compliance to the rules to protect ourselves against the virus. It may sound simple, but treatment of ADHD often is not. Due to lack of knowledge, fear of medication and stigma, many patients are not treated. This may be a risk not only for our patients, but for all the people around them, including mental health care professionals. Protection by plexiglass shields may be a first step, let proper treatment be the next…