ADHD Drugs Being Prescribed More, Antibiotics Less

pills close up with people
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.

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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.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that the number of overall prescriptions for this age group decreased by 7 percent, in contrast to the 22 percent increase in prescriptions given to adults over the same period. However, the authors noted that their research did not track whether the drugs were actually used, only that they were prescribed.

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.

“Identification of drugs with the highest numbers of patients exposed can help focus research efforts on those drugs that could have a large impact on the pediatric population, ” wrote the authors, led by Grace Chai of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

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.

“The reason for the warnings was there was a two-fold increase in suicidal ideation, particularly in the first month after initiating therapy with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors,” he said. Stein was not involved in the FDA study.

“This trend, however, is a double-edged sword,” he added. “More children are likely to attempt suicide when they are depressed if they are not appropriately treated.”

Increase in ADHD Drug Prescriptions Due to Increased Diagnosis

Ritalin and other ADHD drugs like Adderall account for most of the ADHD drug prescriptions between 2002 and 2010, but the researchers noted use of these medications is stabilizing and being replaced by newer drugs, such as Vyvanse and Focalin.

Ritalin was the drug most often given to adolescents, the authors found.

Stein explained that the considerable increase in the number of prescriptions for ADHD drugs is due to a higher number of diagnoses.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children diagnosed with ADHD increased from 4.4 million to 5 million between 2002 and 2010.

Many of those children, according to Stein, may have been misdiagnosed.

“It’s not a slam-dunk diagnosis,” he said. “The most important thing is to get the diagnosis right, and there are very strict criteria that must be met.”

Summer Travel Tips That Will Keep You Fit

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Summer travel! It’s that time of year to visit relatives, journey to beaches and other exciting new places, all while dashing to make your flight on time, and feasting on airport food.

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So, is there any way to travel while keeping things tight, right…and healthy?


Experts agree that the below tips are great ways to burn calories and stay active and healthy while traveling during the summer travel season.

1. Check-In With Your Doctor

It is always a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to travel and make sure that all immunizations are up to date for your destination. If you take medications make sure that all prescriptions are current and that you have enough medication to make it through your trip.

2. Move Around Frequently

Stiff muscles, sore joints, and potentially more serious health concerns may result from remaining stationary during long trips. When flying, make sure to get up, stretch, and move around frequently when it is safe to do so. Avoid sitting with your legs crossed for extended periods of time and change positions every once in awhile.

If you are driving, try to stop at numerous visitor centers, rest areas, and other safe places along your route. When you pull over for a break, make an effort to do a full series of stretches, especially focusing on the arms, back and legs, as these areas can fatigue quickly while driving.

3. Wash Your Hands

You will undoubtedly come into contact with germs as you pass through public travel spaces. Restrooms, railings on escalators, even the tray tables on aircrafts and trains can contain bacteria. Make sure to reduce your risk of illness by washing your hands frequently with soap and water or by using a hand sanitizing gel.

4. Stay Hydrated

The dry air in airports, cars and trains can cause a variety of mild health issues, ranging from dry skin to bloody noses to chapped lips. Even headaches can be brought on by dehydration and dry travel environments.

Bringing a moisturizing lip balm can help reduce chapped cracked lips and a saline spray can help soothe painful dry nasal passages. In addition, carrying hand lotion and facial moisturizer can help with dry skin symptoms. However, the best method to combat dehydration is to drink plenty of fluids consistently throughout your journey.

5. Lift Luggage Correctly

Lifting heavy luggage can be a pain in the neck, but it can also be a pain in the back. With the frenzy of holiday travel, it can be easy to forget to use proper lifting techniques when putting luggage into the car and removing it off of the baggage claim belt.

Pack each bag only to the point where you can carry it comfortably. When lifting your bags, make sure to lift with your legs, keeping your back straight to help reduce the risk of muscle strains. In addition, avoid twisting while carrying your luggage, and try to carry your bags with both hands to avoid putting strain on one side of the body.

6. Explore Your Surroundings

Walk off those extra calories and save money, too. Many hotels and cities around the world also offer free, locally-guided walking tours or courtesy bicycles for guests and tourists that combine sightseeing and a workout in the same activity. Be sure to ask around or check with your hotel to find out what’s available when you arrive.

7. Bring Your Gym With You

Pack workout bands to use in your room or flight cabin – they can even be useful after a long flight to stretch out. Or, have a particular kickboxing or Pilates routine memorized so that you can easily perform your own personal fitness class session. In addition, check with your local gym to see if there are locations near to where you’ll be traveling to – most gyms will allow their traveling members to enjoy their facilities.

8. There’s Probably An App For That

Use your Smartphone, MP3 player or tablet device as a personal trainer by downloading apps with stretching or walking exercises, or even 15-minute workouts like iMapMyRUN, to FitnessClass for iPad, to Authentic Yoga with Deepak Chopra – inspiring beats and tech-savvy workouts will help you keep pep in your step, and further enjoy your surroundings with freshly released endorphins.

9. Be Adventurous

Some people think active vacations are just for adrenaline junkies, but thrill seeking doesn’t have to mean a big physical commitment or giving up luxury. Put on your running shoes and explore the area with a nice jog or brisk walk, or take in nature’s beauty while biking or hiking.