According to a recent study, the number of U.S. children using blood pressure and diabetes medication has greatly increased since 2004.
The study’s results, based on the prescription records of nearly 6 million American kids and teens from ages of 6 to 18 with prescriptions covered by private health providers, revealed that prescriptions for drugs used to treat blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol jumped more than 15 percent between 2004 and 2007. During that period, the prescription rate increased from 3.3 prescriptions per 1,000 children to 3.8 per 1,000.
"Children and adolescents are starting to show signs of chronic health conditions and cardiovascular risk factors that are typically reserved for adults," said Joshua N. Liberman, the head researcher of the study. "We need to be educating health-care providers about the opportunities for managing these patients." Liberman also mentioned that the greatest increase in blood pressure and diabetes medication took place among children between 6 and 10 years of age, the youngest group examined in the study.
However, although the study revealed that prescriptions for diabetes medications increased by 23 percent and prescriptions for blood pressure medications went up by 15 percent, prescriptions for drugs used to treat high cholesterol decreased by nearly 23 percent.
According to Liberman, the increase is primarily due to the significant rise in the number of children with obesity, although he added that more doctors are starting treatments earlier due to a greater awareness of the health problems linked to childhood obesity.
The study was published in the April edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.