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American Minors' Drug Usage Reported

Update Date: Jun 18, 2012 09:38 PM EDT
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A government report released on Monday suggests that the number of drugs dispensed to U.S. minors has dropped slightly in the last 10 years.

The use of antibiotics has fallen by 14 percent indicating that the drive to control overuse of drugs "may be working," researchers from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) write in the journal Pediatrics.

The drugs that showed a decrease in prescription included allergy medicines, cough and cold drugs, painkillers, and antidepressants.

There are a few drugs, the use of which has seen an increase, with the stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD topping the list followed by asthma and birth control pills.

The use of ADHD drug has risen up by 46 percent in a span of 8 years .

"What the article is suggesting is that the number of children that we are treating for attention deficit disorder has gone up," said Dr. Scott Benson, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and a spokesperson for the American Psychiatric Association, according to REUTERS.

"For the most part I think the overall increase reflects a reduction in the stigma. It used to be, 'You're a bad parent if you can't get your child to behave, and you're a doubly bad parent if you put them on medicine,'" he added.

Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician criticizes the use of drugs for ADHD and points out that the U.S. is far ahead of other countries in its use of the drugs.

"You have to look at how our society handles school children's problems. It's clear that we rely much, much more on a pharmacological answer than other societies do," Diller said. "The medicine is overprescribed primarily, but under-prescribed for certain inner-city groups of children."

A report in the New York Times last Sunday suggested that more and more healthy high schoolers are easily fooling doctors into prescribing ADHD drugs.

"There is no objective test, so obtaining the medications is relatively easy," said Diller.

The new findings are based on data from healthcare research firm IMS Health and do not include drugs given at hospitals, the report said.

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