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Prescription Medication Use Among US Children

Pediatrics; ePub 2018 Aug 27; Qato, et al

Nearly 1 in 12 US children and adolescents are concurrent users of prescription medications and are at risk for a major drug-drug interaction (DDI), a recent study suggests. Researchers estimated the prevalence of prescription medication use, concurrent use, and potential DDIs in children and adolescents (aged ≤19 years) in the US. Concurrent use was defined as use of ≥2 prescription medications. They found:

  • During 2013-2014, 19.5% of children and adolescents in the study population used at least 1 prescription medication, 7.1% used acute medications.
  • Concurrent use of prescription medications was 7.5% overall and was highest among boys aged 6-12 years (12%) and among boys and girls aged 13-19 years (10% for both).
  • Using pooled 2009-2014 data, researchers found that 8.2% of concurrent users of prescription medications were at risk for a potentially major DDI.
  • The vast majority of interacting regimens involved antidepressants and were more common among adolescent girls than boys.

Citation:

Qato DM, Alexander GC, Guadamuz JS, Lindau ST. Prescription medication use among children and adolescents in the United States. [Published online ahead of print August 27, 2018]. Pediatrics. doi:10.1542/peds.2018-1042.

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