Navigation Links
Prescriptions for Stimulants, Painkillers Soaring Among Youth

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The number of prescriptions for controlled medications such as opioids and stimulants has nearly doubled in adolescents and young adults since 1994.

The trend, reported in the December issue of Pediatrics, mirrors a similar increase in misuse of these drugs, with adolescents and young adults' illicit use of prescription drugs now outstripping all other illicit drug use except marijuana.

The researchers couldn't attribute the increased misuse directly to more prescriptions, but did urge both physicians and patients to be vigilant when considering the use of drugs such as Oxycontin or Ritalin.

"Our study did not look at the relationship between prescribing and misuse, but the increased prescribing increases the potential availability [of these drugs]," said study author Dr. Robert Fortuna, an assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "Physicians and patients need to be aware of the increased rates of prescribing, be aware of misuse and have discussions about the risks and benefits."

"In total, a controlled medication was prescribed at approximately one out of 6 [health-care visits] for young adults and one in nine for adolescents," he added. "The numbers are large."

Increased prescribing rates for controlled medications is not a new phenomenon, and many believe that some of it has to do with recent initiatives to make sure pain isn't undertreated.

"We believe we've been underusing pain medicine and sedative-hypnotic medications because we have been so concerned about the potential for abuse," said Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, director of education and training at the NYU Child Study Center in New York City.

"Increases are possibly due to changing regulations at both the federal and state levels," Fortuna agreed. "There has been an increased advocacy to treat patients for pain, and there's some evidence that physicians are becoming increasingly comfortable prescribing these medications."

Opioids are a prime example, with sales of oxycodone surging 732 percent and those of methadone by more than 1,000 percent between 1997 and 2006.

The authors looked at two national databases to determine how often opioids, sedative-hypnotics and stimulants were prescribed to adolescents and young adults.

In 2007 alone, a scrip for one of these medications was written at 2.3 million visits by adolescents and 7.8 million visits by young adults.

In 1994, such medications were prescribed at only 6.4 percent of such visits for adolescents, but rose to 11.2 percent in 2007. For young adults, the rate increased from 8.3 percent to 16.1 percent.

Doctors wrote these prescriptions in regular doctors' offices and in emergency departments, for injuries and for more pedestrian complaints such as back pain.

A drawback of the study, Fortuna conceded, was that it "did not look at diverted or misused medications."

He and the other researchers called for more investigation into prescribing trends and prescription misuse, noting the potential for trauma, high-risk behaviors and unintentional overdose among those abusing controlled substances.

Other experts agreed that caution was necessary.

"There's a potential connection between the more prescriptions you have going on and the more potential risk that patients will use it themselves for a purpose it wasn't it intended for or divert it to a friend or someone else," said Shatkin. "It's not infrequent that that happens."

"We certainly have a concern about increased misuse and increased diversion," said Fortuna. "The increase in prescribing of controlled medications such as opioids, stimulants and sedatives in and of itself is not necessarily bad as long as they're being used appropriately."

More information

For more on drug abuse, visit the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

SOURCES: Robert Fortuna, M.D., assistant professor, internal medicine and pediatrics, University of Rochester Medical Center, New York; Jess P. Shatkin, M.D., director of education and training, NYU Child Study Center, New York City; December 2010 Pediatrics

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Steep Co-Pays May Cause Some to Abandon Prescriptions
2. Drug addicts get hooked via prescriptions, keep using to feel like a better person, research shows
3. Reports Five U.S. Cities with Highest Pollen Activity -- Total Prescriptions for Allergy Medications 3.7% Higher than Last Year
4. Prescriptions Translated to Spanish Could Be Hazardous to Health
5. Physicians click their way to better prescriptions
6. Giant Eagle Pharmacy Free Antibiotics Program Surpasses $3 Million in Free Prescriptions
7. Painkillers in Pregnancy May Harm Sons Fertility, Study Suggests
8. Statins, Painkillers May Upset PSA Test Results
9. Another perk of painkillers? Decreased hormone levels may reduce cancer risk
10. Painkillers Lower Estrogen Levels, May Explain Cancer Reduction Risk
11. ER Visits Soaring for Prescription Painkiller Misuse
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Prescriptions for Stimulants, Painkillers Soaring Among Youth
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... (ASI) as their exclusive channel partner for the Nutraceutical Specialties products into oral ... the US, effective immediately. , “We are pleased to announce our expanded ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Medicalis, a leading developer of enterprise-scale Imaging ... (RSNA) annual meeting, being held November 29 – December 3, 2015, that its ... company has completed installations for Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) customers such as WellSpan, ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Holcomb – Kreithen Plastic ... surgery practices in Florida, is proud to announce that Dr. Joshua Kreithen, one ... Ethicon Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company. , Ethicon is a global medical ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Insightra Medical, Inc. and ... Mesh technology for soft tissue repair in the US via Insightra’s national direct ... surgical mesh intended to support and reinforce soft tissue for 6-9 months before ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... TransPack Volume 6 features 30 customizable transitions created exclusively for use within ... with blur & drop shadow options. Utilize the controls in the inspector window ... the next with TransPack's easily customizable styles. , TransPack Volume 6 features ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Hanger, Inc. (NYSE: ... restatement of the terms of its previously announced consent ... to its $200,000,000 aggregate principal amount 7⅛% Senior Notes ... (i) the consent fees payable pursuant to the Consent ... Notes and (iii) the expiration date of the Consent ...
(Date:11/30/2015)...  Precision Image Analysis Inc. (PIA), a leading ... a dramatic expansion of its capabilities as a ... ISO-9001:2008 certification for its Quality Management System, PIA ... and procedures. This expansion enables PIA to support ... Lab services include design and optimization of protocols, ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... and REHOVOT, Israel , Nov. 30, ... company focused on acquiring and developing innovative therapies for ... appointment of Keith A. Katkin as chairman ... J. Flesher , chief executive officer for OticPharma, Ltd.  ... organizations.  As chairman, he will be able to share ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: