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Stimulants, anti-psychotics, statins, diabetes pills, anti-depressants, sleeping pills -- they aren’t just random medications on your pharmacist’s shelves. Nowadays, kids are frequent consumers of prescription drugs and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon. Yup, according to Medco Health Solutions, Inc., more than 25 percent of U.S. kids are taking at least one prescription medication.
This is scary because, while medications may be helpful for children in the short-term, the long-term results aren’t as widely known. Many medications haven’t been tested specifically for kids, so dosage amounts are educated guesses and there may even be unknown side effects. I say this as a parent who’s on a first-name basis with all of the employees at the local pharmacy. When I adopted my son at age 10, he was already on four different medications. Even more alarming: No one could explain to me why he was on two of the meds. After shuffling around in foster care for years and seeing multiple doctors, the reasons behind the prescriptions were lost -- yet the prescriptions remained.
Of course, there are valid reasons for medications. With the rise of childhood obesity, more kids are dealing with chronic conditions such as Type II diabetes and hypertension. And children with ADHD and other behavior-related conditions can undoubtedly benefit from medications when all other measures have failed.
Personally, I’m grateful for the help my son’s necessary medications have given him. But I don’t believe medications should be our go-to resource when other options are available. Prescriptions for children should be given cautiously and monitored closely.
Do you think kids are prescribed too many medications? Chime in below!