Changes in medications administered in schools

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


NLM Title Abbreviation

J Sch Nurs

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of school nursing

PubMed ID


DOI of Published Version


Start Page


End Page



The purpose of this descriptive, cross-sectional study was to determine if there have been changes in the type and number of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) medications administered in schools since the introduction of long-acting stimulants. A survey was sent to 1,000 school nurses randomly selected from the National Association of School Nurses membership, with 339 returned (34%). Between 2000 and 2003 the proportion of students receiving any prescription medication (2.9/100 vs. 1.0/100), methylphenidate (1.2 vs. 0.2), or amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (0.3/100 vs. 0.1/100) was significantly reduced ( p < .0001). High school students took fewer prescription ( p < .0001) and AD/HD medications ( p < .0001), but more nonprescription medications than other students. A total of 163 different prescription medications and 28 nonprescription medications were administered during the typical school day. This study suggests that the use of long-acting stimulants has significantly reduced the number of prescription medications administered in schools. This reduction has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the range of medications administered, making the medication administration process in schools more complex, not less.


Adolescent, Adult, Amphetamines/therapeutic use, Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity/drug therapy/nursing, Central Nervous System Stimulants/therapeutic use, Child, Cross-Sectional Studies, Dextroamphetamine/therapeutic use, Drug Administration Schedule, Drug Prescriptions/statistics & numerical data, Drug Therapy/nursing/statistics & numerical data, Drug Therapy, Combination, Drug Utilization Review, Female, Humans, Male, Methylphenidate/therapeutic use, Nonprescription Drugs/therapeutic use, Nurse's Role, Nursing Evaluation Research, Physician's Practice Patterns/statistics & numerical data, Questionnaires, Safety Management, School Nursing/organization & administration, Workload

Published Article/Book Citation

The Journal of school nursing, 22:2 (2006) pp.102-107.

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