ADHD Report: Prescription Drug Use Up in Teenagers

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ADHD Prescription Drug Use Up in Teens

More teenagers are taking prescriptions medications for ADHD, and for other medical conditions, than ever before, and the sharpest increase is with teenage girls. This is according to a five year study of prescription drug claims by Medco Health Solutions, a company that manages various pharmacy benefits programs.
more teenagers are taking prescription medications for ADHD

The increase in prescription drug use may be seen as either good news or bad news.

Either it means that teenagers are benefiting from better health care and better diagnostic evaluations for conditions that would have been overlooked in the past, or that teenagers are suffering more physical and psychological problems than ever before.

For example, the biggest increase in drug claims was for girls taking medication for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes was once considered “adult” diabetes, but is now more commonly seen in children and teenagers as childhood obesity increases. From 2001 to 2006 the number of girls taking medications for this condition increased by 167%. For boys the increase over the same period was 33%.

For ADHD medications, such as Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera, and more, Medco also reported significant increases in prescriptions from 2001 to 2006. The number of prescriptions for ADHD medication in girls increased 74%, and for boys it increased 34%.

This is disappointing in that over this same period of time so much more has been done in the “alternative treatment” realm, with positive benefits being seen with over-the-counter nutraceuticals such as Attend, by eating better for ADHD, and by ruling out food allergies and environmental toxins as the problem.

By the way, there were also increases in medications prescribed for depression and psychotic episodes. Antidepressants were up 9% in girls, but were unchanged in boys. Antipsychotic medication prescriptions increased 117% in girls, and 70% in boys.

The report is titled: Growth in Medication Use in Children – 2001 to 2006, by Medco Health Solutions.

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