15 May Fewer US Children Taking Prescription Medications
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Craig M. Hales, MD, MPH, MS
CDR, U.S. Public Health Service
Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys
National Center for Health Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Monitoring trends in prescription medication use among children and adolescents is an important part of understanding the health of youth in the U.S. and the healthcare they receive.
For this study we used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey or NHANES, which is a nationally representative survey of the US population and as part of this face-to-face survey in the home, we ask participants about their prescription medication use in the last 30 days and collect information about the prescription directly from the medication package.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: From 1999-2014 we found a decrease in percentage of children and adolescents who used a prescription medication in the last 30 days from 25% to 22% with the biggest decrease among infants 0-23 month olds. Asthma medications (6%), antibiotics (4.5%), and ADHD medications (3.5%) were the most common types of prescription medications used in 2011-2014.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: Further research could be done to determine reasons for trends in specific classes of prescription medications, which was not a focus of this study. Trends could be influenced by shifting disease patterns, availability of new therapies, or decreasing use of ineffective or inappropriate therapies. NHANES also does not capture use of over-the-counter medications, so decreases in medications that became available over-the-counter during the study period could be due, in part, to substitutions of prescription medications with over-the-counter medications.
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