June 18, 2012
Prescriptions Written To Minors On Decline, Except For ADHD Meds
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported on Monday that the number of drugs dispensed to U.S. minors has dropped over the years.
FDA researchers said antibiotic use dropped 14 percent over the past 10 years, helping to reduce overuse of the drugs. Overusing antibiotics can make the drugs less effective, making it harder to stop infections in children and adults.
The number of antidepressant prescriptions for children declined as well, according to the recent findings.
"The reason for the warnings was there was a two-fold increase in suicidal ideation, particularly in the first month after initiating therapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors," Dr. Martin Stein, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California who was not involved in the study, told ABC News. "More children are likely to attempt suicide when they are depressed if they are not appropriately treated."
Although some of the results by the FDA posted shows signs of decline in prescriptions, other drugs have been on the rise.
The experts wrote in the journal Pediatrics that they found a rise in the use of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug use in some children.
ADHD drug use went up 46 percent in children from 2002 to 2010, capturing 800,000 prescriptions a year now. The most prescribed ADHD drug to adolescents was Ritalin, with over four million prescriptions filled in 2010.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children diagnosed with ADHD increased from 4.4 million to 5 million between 2002 and 2010.
The FDA also looked at an acid reflux drug known as Iansoprazole prescribed to children. Some are concerned about the safety of the drug, which is sold as Prevacid, when prescribing it to infants.
Although studies show that the drug has no effect in children younger than one, the FDA found that doctors wrote 358,000 prescriptions for those in that age group in 2010.
The number of filled prescriptions to minors has dropped over the years, according to the study, with 263 million being filled in 2010. This number was down seven percent since 2002.
Drugs that showed drops in the amount prescribed by doctors included allergy medicines, cough and cold drugs, painkillers, and antidepressants.
The new findings are based on data from healthcare research firm IMS Health, and do not include drugs given at hospitals.
"Identification of drugs with the highest numbers of patients exposed can help focus research efforts on those drugs that could have a large impact on the pediatric population," the authors wrote in the journal.
Contraceptive prescriptions for adolescents jumped up by 93 percent, according to the FDA. The authors said an increase in these drugs may be due to the trend of using them to treat acne.