More U.S. Kids Taking Diabetes, Blood Pressure Meds

The number of American children and teens taking drugs to lower blood pressure and control diabetes has risen significantly since 2004, according to a new study. The study is one of several reports on childhood obesity in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Researchers at CVS Caremark used the company’s drug database to track prescriptions filled on behalf of children and adolescents. Increases in all age groups [between] 6 to 18 years of age were noted. The youngest age group, the 6-to-10-year population, realized the greatest increase in medication use. The study examined the prescription records of almost 6 million U.S. children and adolescents from 6 to 18 years of age whose prescriptions were covered by private health insurance. They found that prescriptions for blood pressure medications, diabetes medications and cholesterol-lowering drugs increased by more than 15 percent from 2004 to 2007, rising from 3.3 prescriptions per 1,000 children in late 2004 to 3.8 per 1,000 by mid-2007. Assessed separately, diabetes medications charted a 23 percent rise, and there was a 15 percent jump in pediatric prescriptions for blood pressure medications. "Children and adolescents are starting to show signs of chronic health conditions and cardiovascular risk factors that are typically reserved for adults,” said Joshua N. Liberman, vice president of strategic research at the company and the study’s lead researcher. “We need to be educating health-care providers about the opportunities for managing these patients.” Over the same period, prescriptions for cholesterol-lowering medications (which include statin drugs such as Crestor, Lipitor and Zocor) dropped by almost 23 percent. Researchers speculate that this drop may have been due to controversy about prescribing these drugs to children. (Source: HealthDay News)
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