Children's Behavioral Medication Costs Soar

Published Online: Monday, November 1, 2004

Medco Health Solutions 2004 Drug Trend Report has revealed eye-opening data about medication spending to treat behavioral disorders in pediatric patients. Specifically, spending on drugs primarily used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder skyrocketed by 369% for children under age 5. The number of children taking 1 or more prescription medications to treat behavior-related conditions hit almost 9% for those children taking at least 1 medication overall. Other significant findings of the analysis are as follows:

  • Prescription drug spending for behavioral conditions rose by 77% between 2000 and 2003 as a result of increased costs and the increased use of these medications
  • In 2003, spending on behavioral medications to treat children overtook both the antibiotic and asthma categories, which are traditionally high-use categories in pediatric medicine
  • The number of children taking behavioral medications jumped by >20% between 2000 and 2003, outpaced only by the increase in children on drugs to treat gastrointestinal conditions, which increased by 28%


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