Prescription medication use among children and adolescents in the United States

U.S. researchers tapped data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in an effort to characterize pediatric and adolescent use of prescription medications. For the period of 2013–14, the investigators discovered high rates of prescription drug use among patients aged 19 years or younger.

U.S. researchers tapped data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in an effort to characterize pediatric and adolescent use of prescription medications. For the period of 2013–14, the investigators discovered high rates of prescription drug use among patients aged 19 years or younger. Among the sample, 19.8% used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days; and 7.1% used acute prescription medications, defined as those taken for at least 30 days. The rate of concomitant use of two or more prescription drugs was 7.5% overall; and based on pooled 2009–14 data, 8.2% of those users were at risk for a potentially major drug-drug interaction. This was especially true among adolescent females, particularly those taking antidepressants. Campaigns to prevent adverse drug events in the pediatric population should consider the role of interacting drug combinations, the researchers conclude, particularly among adolescent girls.