Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorA new study out today in the journal Pediatrics takes a look at the most commonly prescribed meds for children and adolescents.

I don’t know what you might think is #1… but I was going down the road of antibiotics, asthma, acne, or allergy medicines.

But while correct on the first letter of the class of meds, “A”, I’m wrong on the condition. The most commonly prescribed drugs for teens in America is for ADHD. That blew me away.

The Journal looked at drug prescriptions from 2002-2008, and find while antibiotics have gone down, drugs for ADHD have shot up 46%. Translation into actual numbers: 800,000 more prescriptions per year.

Thats for all age groups of kids, but its the teenage bunch that gets the attention. Whats going on here? Has there been an explosion of ADHD that starts at age 13?

Sure, we know the true numbers of kids with ADHD has gone up. There’s less stigma to discuss it with your doctor, more discussion among other parents, and overall, better awareness and diagnosis. A lot of experts wonder if the onslaught of video games, environmental stimulants, or diet has something to do with the jump.

Then again, too many of us on both sides of the Rx pad may be looking for the quick, pharmacological fix. Do we really need to write for a drug to treat a hyperactive, inattentive kid right from the get-go?

Finally, are we docs being scammed into giving prescriptions for things like Ritalin by teens who instead use the drug as “legal speed” to help with studying, etc. Some recent surveys add some support to this theory.

So here’s one tip for you parents if you’re wondering if your youngster really has a problem. It’s a form you can take a look at, bring to your doctor, and then discuss. These meds, as with any meds, should only be used for legitimate purpose.

LINK: nichq.org/adhd_tools.html (Scroll down to #3 and #4.)


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