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

Children who sleep an hour less at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, says study

August 15, 2017
A study has found that children who slept on average one hour less a night had higher risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including higher levels of blood glucose and insulin resistance.

Low blood sugars in newborns linked to later difficulties

August 8, 2017
A newborn condition affecting one in six babies has been linked to impairment in some high-level brain functions that shows up by age 4.5 years.

Can breast milk feed a love of vegetables?

August 4, 2017
(HealthDay)—Want your preschooler to eat veggies without a fuss? Try eating veggies while you're breast-feeding.

Small drop in measles vaccinations would have outsized effect, study estimates

July 24, 2017
Small reductions in childhood measles vaccinations in the United States would produce disproportionately large increases in the number of measles cases and in related public health costs, according to a new study by researchers ...

At the cellular level, a child's loss of a father is associated with increased stress

July 18, 2017
The absence of a father—due to incarceration, death, separation or divorce—has adverse physical and behavioral consequences for a growing child. But little is known about the biological processes that underlie this link ...

New comparison chart sheds light on babies' tears

July 10, 2017
A chart that enables parents and clinicians to calculate if a baby is crying more than it should in the first three months of its life has been created by a Kingston University London researcher, following a study of colic ...

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.