Use of Asthma, ADHD Drugs on the Rise in Children


Prescription medication use for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), asthma, and contraception have all increased in children and teens.

A new study published in JAMA showed that although estimates of prescription medication use for children and teens fell overall from 1999 to 2014, patterns differed by types of medications, with drugs for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), asthma, and contraception all increasing.1

Use of antibiotics, antihistamines, and upper respiratory combination medications decreased.

The observational study was somewhat limited, as it did not capture dosages, formulations, or frequency of use, and the survey didn’t collect data on most over-the-counter medications; thus, underreporting is possible, the authors said.

The report included 38,277 children and adolescents (from birth to age 19 years) who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999-2014. NHANES, a nationally representative survey conducted every 2 years, measures sex, age, race, household income, education, insurance status, and current health status (exposures); use of prescription medications, and use of medications by therapeutic class.

Click to continue reading on The American Journal of Managed Care.

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