Use of diabetes drugs surges among US tweens, teens

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Washington, Nov 4 : The number of American children taking medications for type 2 diabetes has been significantly growing, according to a new study.

The number of kids using diabetes medications has almost doubled between 2002-2005 and the trend is still increasing.

The study also showed that more and more kids children taking medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma, ADD/ADHD, depression, thus raising concerns over the health risks faced by children.

Moreover, girls between 10 and 14 years of age have shown a 166 percent increase in the use of diabetes drugs.

"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," she added.

Except for asthma medication, older teens age 15-19 years old account for the largest percentage of children taking these medications.

The huge increase in type 2 diabetes medication use was driven largely by girls who saw a 147 percent increase over the four year period, compared to boys who saw a 39 percent increase in medicine use.

The researchers also found a greater increase in girls, prescribed ADD/ADHD medication with 63 percent in girls and 33 percent in boys.

The girls between 15 to 19 years were found to be more likely to use antidepressants, while for males in the same age group, utilization declined slightly.

This increase in antidepressant use among older teen girls was a striking exception to decreases for boys and girls ages 5 to 9 and boys ages 10 to 14.

The kids between 5 to 9 years accounted for the largest increase in the use of asthma controller medication at 67.3 percent, compared to 38.8 percent for the 10 to 14 age group and 34.7 percent for the 15 to 19 age group.

The study appears in the journal Pediatrics.

ANI

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