More ADHD drugs, fewer antibiotics for US kids: study

June 18, 2012 by Kerry Sheridan

More drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and fewer antibiotics are being prescribed to US children and teenagers compared to a decade ago, said a US study on Monday.

Also, contraceptive soared 93 percent from 2002 to 2010, though the reasons for the rise remain unclear, said the research published in the journal Pediatrics.

Overall, prescriptions for kids ages 0-17 dropped seven percent during that time period, while dispensed to adults rose 22 percent, it said.

"Children are experiencing fewer serious than perhaps they had in the past," said Victor Fornari, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York.

The report tracked the number of prescriptions dispensed for the youths, not the number of patients, and was based on two major US commercial prescription databases.

A key rise was seen in stimulant medications for , which the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes as one of the most common neurobehavioral conditions of childhood, affecting about five million children.

ADHD diagnoses have been rising in recent years, and Fornari said the 46 percent rise in ADHD prescriptions noted in the Pediatrics study was likely in keeping with the higher number of cases.

"Given the prevalence of these disorders it is likely to reflect a greater awareness and recognition of these conditions and an understanding of the negative impact of failing to treat ADHD," Fornari told AFP.

"That failure to treat results in lower , a greater rate of conduct disorders, earlier entry into substance abuse and a higher likelihood of entering the or the ," added Fornari, who was not involved in the study.

"There has been a much greater awareness that you want to treat ADHD early to prevent the bad outcome. I think this increase may reflect that."

Overall, the most frequently dispensed drugs were antibiotics, accounting for about a quarter of all pediatric prescriptions between 2002 and 2010, said the report.

However, the data showed a 14 percent decline in antibiotic dispensing over that period, which Kenneth Bromberg, chairman of Pediatrics at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York, described as good news.

"Almost no one is chronically on antibiotics," said Bromberg, who also was not involved with the research.

"It suggests the use of antibiotics for ambulatory type things has gone down, which is very good," he added.

"The more we cut back on unnecessary antibiotic use in humans, the better off we will be in terms of antibiotic resistance."

Other notable findings included a 42 percent drop in prescription medications for coughs and colds, a 14 percent rise in asthma meds, and a 93 percent spike in prescriptions for contraceptives like birth control pills.

The study could not explain the reasons behind the increase, but suggested it could be a result of youths taking pills for longer periods of time -- which was not measured in the research -- or for secondary reasons like acne prevention.

Explore further: Report: 1 in 5 of US adults on behavioral meds

Related Stories

Report: 1 in 5 of US adults on behavioral meds

November 16, 2011
More than 20 percent of American adults took at least one drug for conditions like anxiety and depression in 2010, according to an analysis of prescription data, including more than one in four women.

Antibiotics often the wrong prescription for pediatric asthma

June 1, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- At nearly one in six pediatric asthma visits, antibiotics are prescribed as a remedy, despite national guidelines against the practice. Ian Paul, departments of pediatrics and public health sciences, Penn ...

CDC: Doctors prescribing fewer antibiotics to kids

September 1, 2011
(AP) -- The push to get pediatricians to stop prescribing antibiotics for the wrong illnesses is paying off a bit, a new government report found.

Prescribed stimulant use for ADHD continues to rise steadily

September 28, 2011
The prescribed use of stimulant medications to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) rose slowly but steadily from 1996 to 2008, according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and ...

Recommended for you

Is rushing your child to the ER the right response?

October 16, 2017
If a child gets a small burn from a hot pan, starts choking or swallows medication, parents may struggle to decide whether to provide first aid at home or rush them to the hospital, suggests a new national poll.

Happier mealtimes, healthier eating for kids

October 13, 2017
(HealthDay)—Parents who struggle to get their children to follow a healthy diet may want to make dinnertime a pleasant experience, new research suggests.

Children born prematurely have greater risk of cognitive difficulties later in life

October 11, 2017
Babies born preterm have a greater risk of developing cognitive, motor and behavioural difficulties and these problems persist throughout school years, finds a new study led by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Helping preemies avoid unnecessary antibiotics

October 5, 2017
(HealthDay)—Researchers say they have identified three criteria that suggest an extremely premature infant has a low risk of developing sepsis, which might allow doctors to spare these babies early exposure to antibiotics.

Got a picky eater? How 'nature and nurture' may be influencing eating behavior in young children

October 3, 2017
For most preschool-age children, picky eating is just a normal part of growing up. But for others, behaviors such as insisting on only eating their favorite food item—think chicken nuggets at every meal—or refusing to ...

Anxious moms may give clues about how anxiety develops

September 27, 2017
Moms may be notorious worriers, but babies of anxious mothers may also spend more time focusing on threats in their environment, according to a team of researchers.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.