WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics showed that the rate of adolescent exposure to ADHD medication rose by 71.2 percent from 2000 to 2011.
- Published on Monday, the study also revealed a slight 6.2 percent decrease from 2011 to 2014.
- The study reviewed how young people up to age 19 got in contact with the medication and was not limited to those with a prescription.
Exposure to ADHD medication includes children finding and ingesting it, accidental dosage errors or an intentional overdose to get high or commit suicide.
It was reported that about 69 percent of children were diagnosed with ADHD. Parents want to make sure their kids, who are taking medication for their condition, can stay safe.
One of the study’s authors, Henry A. Spiller, recommends focussing on specific age groups.
“The biggest thing we found is that age makes a difference,” said Spiller, a director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
He divided the children into three groups: preschoolers, up to 5 years old; school-age children, 6-12; and teens, 13-19.
Preschoolers’ exposure to ADHD medication is due to “exploratory behavior,” according to Spiller.
“People may have several children, where an older child may have ADHD, and they have a preschooler also,” he explained. “They might have the older child’s medication out, but the little child sees it and gets into it.”
Spiller suggests locking up the medicine and keeping it out of reach, to prevent the little ones from getting it.
For the 6-12 age group, he said they are exposed primarily through “therapeutic errors.”
“The child unintentionally gets a double dose,” Spiller said.
“One parent gives the medicine to the child, and then the other parent does too, not knowing of the previous dosage. Or the child gets it at home, and then the school nurse gives it to them too,” he further explained.
Spiller said these errors can be avoided by planning.
Teen exposure to ADHD medication can be intentional. Spiller revealed that teens are using the medication for abuse—to get high, or sometimes suicide attempts.
“Parents should maintain the medication and be aware that it is one of the things a teen will go after if they are contemplating suicide,” he said.
Spiller wants parents to be vigilant because there is a great risk of children ending up in the hospital because of exposure to ADHD medication.
“Basically these are overdoses, and parents may not know how dangerous this medication can be because they get it from the pediatrician and give it to their child every day. We want parents to know that as their child is growing and changing, the risks of the medication change as well,” Spiller concluded.
Source: Chicago Tribune