Reuters (06/18/12) Joelving, Frederik
A report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that was published in the journal Pediatrics on June 18 shows that the number of drugs prescribed to minors has dropped slightly over the past 10 years, with antibiotic use dropping 14 percent. The drop suggests that efforts to halt overuse could be working, though the report also found an increase in the number of some drugs in children, including stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The use of ADHD drugs grew by 46 percent between 2002 and 2010, with methylphenidate, or Ritalin, having the highest number of prescriptions. The findings were based on data from IMS Health and did not include drugs dispensed at hospitals. Prescriptions drug classes including allergy medicines, antidepressants, cough and cold medicines and painkillers showed marked drops among children, while increases were seen in asthma medication and birth control pills as well as ADHD drugs. The report also found high numbers of prescriptions of lansoprazole or Prevacid prescribed for infants younger than one, a group for which the drug has no indication, suggesting rampant overuse, and increasing the risk of pneumonia and stomach infections in this group.