Prescription Drug Use and Cost Trends Among Medicaid-Enrolled Children with Disruptive Behavioral Disorders

Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

Zhao, Lirong; Cross-Barnet, Caitlin; McClair, Vetisha L.; Prescription Drug Use and Cost Trends Among Medicaid-Enrolled Children with Disruptive Behavioral Disorders; The Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, volume 45, pages 550–564, 23 March, 2018;


This item is likely protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Unless on a Creative Commons license, for uses protected by Copyright Law, contact the copyright holder or the author.
Public Domain Mark 1.0
This work was written as part of one of the author's official duties as an Employee of the United States Government and is therefore a work of the United States Government. In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 105, no copyright protection is available for such works under U.S. Law



Disruptive behavior disorders (DBDs) are the most common mental health conditions in children. These conditions profoundly affect healthcare utilization and costs. Service use, costs, and diagnostic trends among pediatric Medicaid beneficiaries provide information regarding healthcare quality and potential for smarter spending. Using nationwide Medicaid administrative data, this study investigates diagnoses, prescription drug fills, and payments in 49 states and D.C. from 2006 to 2009 in Medicaid beneficiaries age 20 and under. Psychotherapeutic drug prescriptions and payments were calculated as a proportion of prescription totals. Results were considered by age, gender, race, and state. The results show a trend of increasing DBD diagnosis. Among prescription claims for children with diagnosed DBD, psychotherapeutic drug claims represented 30–40% of prescription claims but over half of prescription costs. This study indicates increasing clinical and financial needs for Medicaid-enrolled children with DBDs. Medicaid could potentially foster reforms in pediatric DBD treatments, particularly regarding medication use.