A Shift in Pediatric Drug Utilization Seen 2002 to 2010

Increased utilization of ADHD medication; decreased antibiotic, allergy medication use

MONDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- From 2002 to 2010 there was a 7 percent decrease in outpatient pediatric prescription medication utilization, due in part to a decrease in antibiotics and allergy medication prescriptions, according to a study published online June 18 in Pediatrics.

Grace Chai, Pharm.D., from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Md., and colleagues analyzed data on outpatient pediatric (aged 0 to 17 years) prescriptions from the IMS Vector One: National and Total Patient Tracker databases, from 2002 to 2010.

The researchers found that the number of prescriptions dispensed in 2010 (263.6 million) was 7 percent lower than in 2002. During the same time period, adult prescriptions increased by 22 percent. For 2010, compared with 2002, there was decreased pediatric drug utilization for systemic antibiotics (−14 percent), allergies (−61 percent), pain (−14 percent), depression (−5 percent), and cough/cold without expectorant (−42 percent). Conversely, prescriptions for asthma, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and contraceptives increased (14, 46, and 93 percent, respectively). For infants (0 to 23 months) and children (2 to 11 years), amoxicillin was the most frequently dispensed prescription in 2010. For adolescents (12 to 17 years), methylphenidate was most prescribed.

"Changes include a decrease in antibiotic use and an increase in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication use during the examined time," the authors write.

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