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American Kids Getting Fewer Prescription Drugs: Study
Date:6/18/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- New research shows that the number of prescriptions written for children has dropped by 7 percent in recent years.

Between 2002 and 2010, notable decreases occurred in antibiotic, cough/cold, allergy, pain and depression prescriptions, according to the study, which was conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At the same time, there was a rise in the number of asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and contraceptive prescriptions.

"Approximately 263 million prescriptions were dispensed to the pediatric population in 2010 -- 7 percent lower than the number of prescriptions dispensed in 2002," the study authors said, adding that the number of prescriptions written for children dropped by 2.4 million each year between 2002 and 2010.

During that time, however, the number of prescriptions written for adults increased by 22 percent, according to the study.

The findings were released online June 18 and are scheduled to appear in the July print edition of the journal Pediatrics.

The top 10 prescribed drugs for children 17 and under in 2010 included antibiotics, asthma medications and the pain reliever ibuprofen. Antibiotics accounted for approximately one-quarter of all prescriptions written between 2002 and 2010, according to the study.

By 2010, however, the number of antibiotic prescriptions had decreased by 14 percent.

"This could potentially be good news. The antibiotic numbers are consistent with the efforts to decrease the use of antibiotics for upper respiratory infections," said Dr. Kenneth Bromberg, chairman of pediatrics at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City.

He noted, however, that this particular study wasn't designed to tease out the reasons behind a change in medication use, only to determine whether a change occurred.

Still, he said, "It's likely that t
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