Medication Usage Differs Among Hispanic Children

Less-acculturated Hispanic children less likely to use psychiatric medications
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In Hispanic children, acculturation differences affect medication usage, according to a study in the October issue of Pediatrics.

Byron Alexander Foster, of the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2004 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey linked to the National Health Interview Survey on 7,539 children ages 0 to 17 years. Of these, 10.2 percent were Hispanic and they or their caregivers were interviewed in English and 7.6 percent were Hispanic and they or their caregivers were interviewed in Spanish.

The researchers found that a usual source of care was less common among Hispanic, Spanish-interviewed children than among Hispanic, English-interviewed subjects. Compared to Caucasian children, they found that children in both Hispanic groups were less likely to use any prescription medication, and that the Spanish-interviewed group had an especially low use of prescribed psychiatric medications, but not of respiratory medications.

"Because approximately one half of all children used a medication in 2004 and the Hispanic population constituted approximately 20 percent of children, these findings have implications for policy and practice," the authors write. "The findings regarding psychiatric medications have relevance for practitioners working with less-acculturated Hispanic families, because untreated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder can impair significantly children's ability to reach their potential."

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