Nearly 1 in 5 children and teens uses prescription medications, and many concurrent users of more than one prescription are at risk of drug interactions, according to a study published in the September 2018 Pediatrics.
The study, "Prescription Medications Among Children and Adolescents in the United States," looked at data provided by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 2003 to 2014. Researchers analyzed prescription medication questionnaires filled out by a total of 23,179 children ages 19 and younger, with parents or caregivers providing information on children younger than 16.
The use of prescription medications was the highest among teen girls (28 percent), and boys ages 6 to 12 years (26.5 percent). In 2013-14, one-fifth of children and adolescents used at least one prescription medication and approximately 7.5 percent used two or more prescription medications. Among those using multiple medications, 1 in 12 was at risk for a major drug-drug interaction and the vast majority of these potential interactions involved antidepressants. Largely driven by higher use rates of antidepressants and acute medication, specifically analgesics and anti-emetics, adolescent girls were at a higher risk of using interacting drug regimens than other subgroups, the study found.
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