Think Before You Medicate Our Children!

Dear Medical Profession,

Whilst I am no expert and don’t pretend to be, I am bewildered at the rate in which kids are being prescribed medication in the US especially.  I read the Wall Street Journal article about prescription drug use among children and teenagers in the US, and I just shook my head in disbelief.

Below are some of the passages from the article that disturbed me:

These days, the medicine cabinet is truly a family affair. More than a quarter of U.S. kids and teens are taking a medication on a chronic basis, according to Medco Health Solutions Inc., the biggest U.S. pharmacy-benefit manager with around 65 million members. Nearly 7% are on two or more such drugs, based on the company’s database figures for 2009.

Doctors and parents warn that prescribing medications to children can be problematic. There is limited research available about many drugs’ effects in kids. And health-care providers and families need to be vigilant to assess the medicines’ impact, both intended and not. Although the effects of some medications, like cholesterol-lowering statins, have been extensively researched in adults, the consequences of using such drugs for the bulk of a patient’s lifespan are little understood.

But children and teens are also taking a wide variety of other medications once considered only to be for adults, from statins to diabetes pills and sleep drugs, according to figures provided to The Wall Street Journal by IMS Health, a research firm. Prescriptions for antihypertensives in people age 19 and younger could hit 5.5 million this year if the trend though September continues, according to IMS. That would be up 17% from 2007, the earliest year available.

So, one-quarter of kids in the US are on medication.  Is this acceptable?  Is this not far too high?  Is it going to get higher in the future?  Are we going to have half of our kids on medication?  Why don’t we put all kids on meds?  That’s where we are going, aren’t we?

As I stated, I am no expert.  I just find it hard to believe that so many kids rely on medication.  It doesn’t sit well with me.  Am I just behind the times, or is this generation of medical professionals comfortable with prescribing medication to kids in such high numbers without adequate research?

Yours sincerely,

 

MICHAEL

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One Response to “Think Before You Medicate Our Children!”

  1. Santo Says:

    Very good point.

    The worst offenders are psychiatric medicines, as they have generally severe side-effects, and the side-effects often prompt the prescription of additional drugs. An anti-depressant produces anxiety, resulting in the addition of an anti-anxiety drug, which results in suicidal thoughts, which leads to ECT. or worse.

    Getting off them is also problematic, as one must be carefully weaned. One must exercise extreme caution before getting a child onto such a pathway.

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