ADHD Drugs Being Prescribed More in Kids, Antibiotics Less, FDA Finds

A strong uptick in ADHD drugs are one of a few trends when it comes to the drugs kids are being prescribed over the past year.

ADHD drugs in particular are a hot topic in recent months, due to some disagreement between the Food Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) about what volume of the medications is required to keep the hyperactive and or inattentive population productive and focused.

ADHD drugs have a high potential for abuse, which is why the DEA has been sticking their noses in the situation, but ADHD drugs also have a strong benefit for afflicted adults and kids, which prescription trends over the past year have borne out.

In 2011, kids were prescribed more ADHD drugs as well as contraceptives, but antibiotic prescriptions were down. For ADHD drugs, despite the ongoing shortage, prescriptions were up 46%. Contraceptive prescriptions in those under 18 were up a staggering 93%, and antibiotic prescriptions were down 14%.

Overall prescription volume, despite the upticks in ADHD drugs and contraceptives, was down about 7% in children. The study, published in the medical journal Pediatrics, did not examine the reasons behind the fluctuating numbers, as FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh explained after the findings were released:

“This study was done to assess the wide variety of prescription drugs that are prescribed to U.S. children… The data we used do not allow us to understand the reasons behind these trends.”

ADHD drug shortage 2012

Some experts credit new and improved ADHD drugs as the reason behind the uptick, and Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven and Alexandra Children’s Medical Center of New York commented:

“I think the large rise in numbers [of prescriptions] reflects not just the increase in the number of children and adolescents with the condition, but also the availability of markedly improved medicines. We now have once-a-day long-acting meds to treat ADHD.”

Aside from the increase in ADHD drugs and contraceptive prescriptions, drugs used to treat cold and cough were down, possibly due to FDA recommendations to avoid the medications in babies and toddlers.