ST. LOUIS, Nov. 3, 2008 America's tweens and teens more than doubled their use of type 2 diabetes medications between 2002 and 2005, with girls between 10 and 14 years of age showing a 166 percent increase. One likely cause: Obesity, which is closely associated with type 2 diabetes.
The finding is included in a study of chronic medication use in children ages 5 to 19 released today in the journal Pediatrics by researchers from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts (Nasdaq: ESRX) and the Kansas Health Institute.
In addition to diabetes, the study found that utilization patterns for blood pressure, cholesterol, attention-deficit disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), asthma and depression medications increased at varying levels during the four year period.
"Our study findings indicate that these increased levels of chronic medication use are symptoms of broader underlying issues affecting children today," said Emily R. Cox, Ph.D., RPh, senior director of research at Express Scripts. "These trends are worrisome given that many of these therapies are treating conditions with modifiable risk factors and if not addressed, many of these children will carry these chronic conditions into adulthood."
For example, the use of asthma medications increased 46.5 percent and ADD/ADHD medication use increased 40.4 percent. Cholesterol and blood pressure medications saw a more moderate growth of 15 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
Except for asthma medication, older teens age 15-19 years old account for the largest percentage of children taking these medications.
The bad news, according to Donna R. Halloran, M.D., MSPH, assistant professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, is that there is more disease, due in large part to the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity.
"Our findings show t
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Saint Louis University