Monday, July 30, 2007

PedMed: Multi-drug use questioned

Published: July 27, 2007 at 8:00 AM
UPI Senior Science Writer
SAN FRANCISCO, July 27 (UPI) -- Be it a sign of a growing dependency on drug treatments or increasing incidence of coexisting pediatric illnesses, the number of children taking multiple medications is rising at rates some deem unhealthy.
The National Center for Health Statistics reports some 3 million tykes and teens under 18 were taking three or more prescription drugs during the study month in 2002.
In some cases, youngsters suffer simultaneous conditions, so-called comorbidities, which call for separate medicines.
For example, studies show up to one in five children newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may also have a psychiatric condition, including depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism, developmental delay, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
"There is a high rate of physical problems in people with psychiatric problems," said Ronald Brown, professor of public health, psychology and pediatrics at Temple University Health Sciences Center in Philadelphia. "If you have two diagnosable conditions, you must manage both."
Sometimes, a medicine may cause symptoms that require additional drugs for relief. For example, clonidine, an anti-hypertension remedy, has been used to alleviate insomnia and other sleep disturbances experienced by many children on Ritalin and other ADHD medications.
One consequence may be an increased risk of suffering ill effects.

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