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May 15, 2018

Medication Prescribing for Children: Progress and Uncertainty

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor
  • 2Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA. 2018;319(19):1988-1989. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.5731

The article by Hales and colleagues1 in this issue of JAMA highlights trends in the use of prescription medications among children and adolescents. Such an important, comprehensive update has not been performed for nearly a decade but is needed, given changes in child health and treatment recommendations. Using data on 38 277 children and adolescents in the 1999-2014 National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES), the authors reported that use of any prescription medication in the past 30 days decreased from 24.6% to 21.9%. Use of medications for asthma, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and contraception increased, whereas use of antibiotics, antihistamines, and upper respiratory combination medications decreased.