Number of medicated kids on the rise

Filed under: In The News

pills and bottleA spike in the number of children taking medication for chronic health problems such as diabetes and asthma has doctors wondering if the number of kids with these diseases is actually on the rise, or if treatment of the conditions has changed in the last four years.

A study in the journal Pediatrics shows that there has been a sharp increase in the number of kids who are getting medicines for obesity-related conditions, as well as smaller increases in the number of kids being treated for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The number of kids taking meds for asthma alone has increased 47 percent.

The fact that kids are being treated for conditions that might have gone unmedicated in the past worries doctors less than the fact that the medicines themselves may not be appropriate for young people. Often, these drugs have been used and tested on adults -- not children. This practice can lead to medical mishaps; for example, children can't metabolize aspirin the same way a grown-up does, and it can lead to dangerous liver and brain disease in the wee ones.

I'm not at all surprised that more kids are taking more drugs. Our lifestyles have changed so much even since I was a kid. My parents kicked us out of the house with the admonition to "get the stink off" of us. Nowadays, kids are much more sedentary. And as for the asthma -- well, the atmosphere ain't what it used to be.

Do you think kids should be on so many adult medications? Are there children in your household who are medicated?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.