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More U.S. Kids Taking Diabetes, Blood Pressure Drugs
Date:4/6/2009

Prescriptions rose by more than 15 percent in 3 years, researchers say,,,,

MONDAY, April 6 (HealthDay News) -- The number of American children and teens taking drugs to lower blood pressure and control diabetes has risen significantly since 2004, according to a new study.

The study is one of several reports on childhood obesity in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

In the first report, researchers at CVS Caremark, a large supplier of medications to people with health insurance, used the company's drug database to track prescriptions filled on behalf of children and adolescents.

"Children and adolescents are starting to show signs of chronic health conditions and cardiovascular risk factors that are typically reserved for adults," said Joshua N. Liberman, vice president of strategic research at the company and the study's lead researcher. "We need to be educating health-care providers about the opportunities for managing these patients."

Blood pressure medications and diabetic oral drug use has been rising among children, Liberman noted. "We noted increases in all age groups [between] 6 to 18 years of age," he said. "The youngest age group, the 6-to-10-year population, realized the greatest increase in medication use."

For the study, Liberman's team examined the prescription records of almost 6 million U.S. children and adolescents from 6 to 18 years of age whose prescriptions were covered by private health insurance.

They found that prescriptions for blood pressure medications, diabetes medications and cholesterol-lowering drugs increased by more than 15 percent from 2004 to 2007, rising from 3.3 prescriptions per 1,000 children in late 2004 to 3.8 per 1,000 by mid-2007.

Assessed separately, diabetes medications charted a 23 percent rise, and there was a 15 percent jump in pediatric prescriptions for blood pressure medications, Li
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