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Drug Prescriptions Increase among Children and Teens

Katie Chapman3 years ago

According to Medscape, there has been a significant increase in prescription drug use among children and teens in 2011 and 2012 compared to prescription drug use in 2009 and 2010.

Psychostimulants and antidepressants which can carry substantial risks saw particularly sharp increases in prescription rates according to new findings by the Health Care Cost Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit, nonpartisan research group.

Health Care Cost Institute Reprots Rise in Prescription Drugs

“The trend of rising use of prescriptions among children is particularly notable and we, and others, need to focus on the mental health needs of our children.” – HCCI executive director David Newman, PhD, JD

According to the report, Children Health Spending: 2009-2012, health spending per child has increased by 5.5 percent per year and out of pocket spending has risen by 6.6 percent per year since 2009. The report analyzed 10.5 million fee-for-service claims in ESI children.

According to the coauthor of the report, Amanda Frost, PhD, central nervous system (CNS) drug use had increased to double digits in younger children, preteens and teenagers in 2011-2012 compared to 2009-2010 due to generic drug use increases; although, prescription CNS drug use had declined.

HCCI Reports Teenage Boys and Girls Differ in Drug Prescriptions

According to the report, drugs used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and similar conditions were the most common drugs used including: amphetamines, miscellaneous anorexigenics, respiratory drugs and cerebral stimulants.

The report showed that girls were more likely to use antidepressants.

However, while the study was designed to analyze spending patterns, it also revealed an increase in the number of teenage boys and girls admitted to mental hospitals since 2010.

For girls, admissions linked to mental health issues or substance use rose from 9 per 1000 teenage girls in 2010 to 11 in 2012. Teenage boys saw an increase from 7 per 1000 boys to 9.

According to Carolina-Nicole S. Herrera, the study co-author, the report has pointed to areas where future research should focus.


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