From ABC News
The number of children who received prescriptions for drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
increased over an eight-year period while the number of antibiotic prescriptions declined, according to a new study by the Food and Drug Administration.
Using a large national database, FDA researchers analyzed prescription drug trends among children ages up to age 17 between 2002 and 2010 on an outpatient basis.
There were also significant decreases in the number of antibiotics, allergy medicines, pain medicines, drugs used to treat depression and certain cough and cold medications prescribed for children.
But ADHD prescriptions increased by 46 percent, and there were also higher numbers of medications prescribed for asthma and birth control.
Contraceptive prescriptions also skyrocketed, increasing among adolescents by 93 percent.
The study did not offer in-depth analysis of reasons behind these trends, but the authors did suggest that birth control use could actually be explained by a number of factors. Recent surveys did not find much of an increase in the number of girls using birth control, so the trend may be the result of longer use or using these medications for other reasons, such as acne.
They also found that a considerable number of infants less than 1 year old were prescribed acid reflux-controlling proton pump inhibitors -- particularly Prevacid -- although these medications are not FDA-approved for use in children this young.
On the other hand, antibiotic use decreased by 14 percent, and the authors suggest that large-scale efforts by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other children's health experts to decrease antibiotic use "by educating parents about the futility of treating viral infections with antibiotics and about concerns of antibiotic resistance" have been successful.
Similarly, the number of antidepressant prescriptions for children declined. Dr. Martin Stein, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine attributed much of the decrease to FDA warnings about certain drugs.