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A Growing Population of Medicated Children

According to a new report published in the November 2008 issue of Pediatrics, the number of children being medicated for chronic illnesses in the U.S. is rapidly increasing. The findings come from medical insurance data collected from 3.5 million insured children aged 5 to 19 years old during 2002 through 2005. During this period, researchers discovered that all chronic illnesses tracked were associated with medication increases with most significantly increased. Those medications tracked included anti-hypertensives, anti-hyperlipidemics, type-2 anti-diabetics, anti-depressants, attention-deficit disorder (ADD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications, and asthma-controller therapy. Some of the significant increases in medications included type-2 anti-diabetic medications doubling, asthma medications increasing 46.5 percent, ADD and ADHD medications increasing 40.4 percent, and anti-hyperlipidemic medications increasing 15 percent. In the report, authors stated, "As chronic prescription use grows, so too do the risks of drug-related adverse effects and drug-drug interactions."

Source: Pediatrics, Vol. 122 No. 5 November 2008.